My Shingle

Solo Practice Doesn’t Mean Forever

by Carolyn Elefant on March 4, 2008 · 6 comments

in Practice Areas, Solo Practice Trends

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Just like goodbye doesn’t mean forever, solo practice doesn’t either – or at least, it shouldn’t.   Some lawyers who start their own practices are committed to building and running a firm for the long haul.  Others view solo practice not as a permanent end in itself, but as a transition – a way to ride out recessionary times after a lay-off, to develop a new practice area or establish a reputation in a niche market or get courtroom experience or re-entering the profession after time spent raising family.  

In today’s times, careers, not just at law firms, but in all professions are fluid, no longer characterized by a rigid career ladder or up-or-out-partnership track.  Today, lawyers practicing at firms and frustrated by lack of experience may decide to start their own practice, build up a skill set and return to another firm – as of counsel or partner years later.  Look at the business models of most dotcoms or serial entrepreneurs – most want to bring a technology along to a point that they can sell it to another company.  Could that model work for your practice?

  • http://dirtattorney.blogspot.com David Stejkowski

    Great post!
    I started my own firm for three reasons: (1) it was a dream of mine; (2) I wanted to cut back my billable hours and pursue other things; and (3) I lived 60 miles from my last firm’s office, meaning three to four hours a day in the car commuting.
    There are times when I miss the big deals and the camaraderie of more than one partner, but that is all offset by having a life. And my former colleagues all know it. I enjoyed working with them all, but I enjoy my life now more.
    Does that mean I am done with big firm life forever? While I have no plans to return, one thing I’ve learned is never to say never. As I grow in experience and knowledge, if that day comes I will embrace that challenge. And if it does not, I will more than content with what I have done and what I am doing now.

  • http://dirtattorney.blogspot.com David Stejkowski

    Great post!
    I started my own firm for three reasons: (1) it was a dream of mine; (2) I wanted to cut back my billable hours and pursue other things; and (3) I lived 60 miles from my last firm’s office, meaning three to four hours a day in the car commuting.
    There are times when I miss the big deals and the camaraderie of more than one partner, but that is all offset by having a life. And my former colleagues all know it. I enjoyed working with them all, but I enjoy my life now more.
    Does that mean I am done with big firm life forever? While I have no plans to return, one thing I’ve learned is never to say never. As I grow in experience and knowledge, if that day comes I will embrace that challenge. And if it does not, I will more than content with what I have done and what I am doing now.

  • http://www.rdradr.com Ruth Raisfeld

    Life is short and to be enjoyed. Rather than wait around for large law firm life to improve, why not go off and use the skills, experience, and energy that you have to build your own firm. Being senior partner of the law firm of Me, P.C. beats the angst of cogitating about whether to stay or go. I congratulate Carolyn Elefant for her piece in today’s NYLJ.

  • http://www.rdradr.com Ruth Raisfeld

    Life is short and to be enjoyed. Rather than wait around for large law firm life to improve, why not go off and use the skills, experience, and energy that you have to build your own firm. Being senior partner of the law firm of Me, P.C. beats the angst of cogitating about whether to stay or go. I congratulate Carolyn Elefant for her piece in today’s NYLJ.

  • http://soloip.blogspot.com/ Barbara Cookson

    We posted a reference to your site on our more recent blog for Independent SOLO IP Practioners. Because large law firms in the UK are pretty much moving out of non-contentious IP or at least want to run it with newly qualifieds rather than oldies, there is a huge pool of talent in this area who are compelled to practice alone or not at all. Maybe we will all become sought after again but will we want to go back?

  • http://soloip.blogspot.com/ Barbara Cookson

    We posted a reference to your site on our more recent blog for Independent SOLO IP Practioners. Because large law firms in the UK are pretty much moving out of non-contentious IP or at least want to run it with newly qualifieds rather than oldies, there is a huge pool of talent in this area who are compelled to practice alone or not at all. Maybe we will all become sought after again but will we want to go back?

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