I’m still blushing after all of the compliments and good wishes from my fellow bloggers who linked to this article about my practice and my book, Solo by Choice. And I won’t deny that I enjoyed the attention (as well as the resulting book sales). But I need to clarify — I don’t want to be the voice of solo practice because there’s no such thing as a single voice of solo practice. Instead, there are many voices – a veritable chorus who write about or advise solo and small law firms. Some champion the can-do entrepreneurial attitude of solos and celebrate our independent spirit, some work to inspire others to make the leap, some had the vision to recognize that we solos are part of Alvin Toeffler’s Third Wave, some dream of building their firm, some help empower Second City start-up lawyers, some are known for their tech savvy, some want to change the way law is practiced and some have discovered that their entrepreneurial talents extended beyond starting a law firm. Even Dennis Kennedy recognized all of us as a collective category unto ourselves. And beyond those of us who render advise to other solo and small firm lawyers, lets not forget the hundreds of solos who blog about criminal law, family law, personal injury and a huge array of other topics and in doing so, help educate and current potential clients.
So where do I fit into all of this? For me, my end goal is and always has been about serving clients and improving the legal profession. True, I write (both here and in my book) about marketing a law firm and making money, about how solo practice can help biglaw attorneys can find career satisfaction and how starting a firm can help with worklife balance. But the reason that I want to help lawyers find worklife balance or career satisfaction or success is so that we can retain talent in the profession. And in turn, those talented lawyers will use their skills and passion to serve clients zealously and offer an alternative to biglaw practice. As a result, we can improve the quality of the profession and expand meaningful access to our justice system. That’ s also the reason that I spotlight the positive accomplishments of solo lawyers. Of course, I hope to give solos deserved recognition and inspire others to consider this path. But more importantly, by focusing on the good that solos and small firm do (rather than the ethical foibles that the mainstream press is all to eager to highlight), I want to improve the stature of solos so that judges won’t disregard our clients’ positions simply because hey’re not represented by a hotshot, blue chip firm.
In the five and a half years that I’ve blogged at MyShingle, I’ve seen some attitudes about solo practice change, but very, very slowly – and sometimes, not even noticeably. One voice won’t change much at all, but with a village of voices, we stand a chance.