As much as I love solo practice, I’m also the first to admit that it’s a thankless job. No matter where we turn, we’re dumped on or disrespected. Think of all the prospects who call wondering why we can’t just work for free. The clients who never seem very grateful for great results. Or the ones who express so many reservations about hiring a solo instead of a big established firm and make you jump through so many hoops to get the gig that you wish they’d never even considered you. And of course, the legal futurists who seem to think that 100 percent of what we do in small matters can be automated or reduced to forms or handled by non-lawyers in India, without realizing that our persistence in the face of the impossible and all the other touchy-feely stuff that we do that’s beyond the law is what makes us matter.
Many of our clients will never fully appreciate what we do for them or the value we bring, and that’s okay. We serve them; it’s not their job to feed our egos. And smart as academics or big-firm lawyers may be, unless they’ve represented an individual client in crisis, they can never fully appreciate the intangible value of a hand on a shoulder or a compassionate word when there’s nothing else that can be done.
So, solos, you will have to settle for a word of gratitude from me. Thank you for showing up each and every day, for doing your thankless work with dignity and pride, for ensuring meaningful access to justice and most of all, for keeping the humanity in our profession. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.