My Shingle

Biglaw Practice and Issues

Biglaw to Yourlaw: A Recipe for Success

January 4, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

Peter Chaffetz and David Lindsey, founders and partners at newly formed boutique Chaffetz Lindsey could have simply hopped into another big firm life boat after their former firm, Clifford Chance hit stormy weather last year.  Instead, they took another course: they launched a boutique that is thriving even as the economy struggles to recover.  This […]

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The Page Between Biglaw and Solo Practice, Between Life and Death

November 12, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

Even though I reside in Bethesda, Maryland and practice appellate law in Washington D.C. just like appellate lawyer Mark Levy,  the former Kilpatrick Stockton attorney who took his life after his firm downsized, our paths never crossed.   As a biglaw attorney and a small fry in a highly stratified town like Washington D.C., lawyers like […]

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Where’s the Value Add in Big Firms?

August 11, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

Even if for the sake of argument, you accept the proposition that biglaw is better than small law, the question is: how much better.  Is an $850/hr partner at a mega firm really $500/hr better than his or her solo or small firm counterpart?  Naturally, we solo and small firm lawyers would say no, but […]

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For WSJ Readers – Resources on Starting a Law Firm

August 8, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

From Biglaw to Yourlaw – Yesterday, one of my solo colleagues Mitchell Matorin was profiled in the Wall Street Journal as asomewhat timely example of a large firm lawyer who has found success in solo practice.  The story mentioned MyShingle and has been driving some traffic to this site, so I wanted to highlight some […]

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Why Does the Trade Press Focus on Biglaw Attorneys Turned Solo Who Don’t Succeed?

August 5, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

Not all lawyers who start their own firm experience wild success.  This month’s American Lawyer focuses on three who did not.  I don’t take issue with the story’s spin because I believe that it’s important to impress the challenges of starting a practice.  Too many of the new crop of opportunist start-a-firm gurus blithely gloss […]

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Handling Biglaw Practice Areas on a Budget

July 14, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

With many biglaw attorneys now considering solo practice, I wanted to list a couple of ideas and resources to procure biglaw practice tools on a budget.  For most consumer practice areas, such as family law, bankruptcy, trusts and estates, new solos can find a cornucopia of low cost practice tools, such as pro bono training […]

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The Lock-Step Monster

March 20, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frost Why is it that biglaw is always engaged in a constant game of follow the leader?  A few years back, sites like Above the Law gleefully documented the steady upward march of […]

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The $100,000 Law Firm

February 27, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

Imagine having $100,000 to start a law firm.  That’s the consolation prize for the 190 associates laid off today by Latham and Watkins:  six months of severance pay, capped at $100,000, reports AmLaw Daily. I realize that when you’re saddled with student loans and the accoutrements of a biglaw lifestyle, $100,000 doesn’t seem all that […]

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Oh, Biglaw: Why Pay $60k for Lawyers to Do Non-Profit Work When You Could Pay Them To Build A Lucrative Practice?

February 20, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

Update – please see the comments, as they are very informative.  I think perhaps my position may be too extreme – funding a couple of non-profit positions or funding indigent criminal defense prgrams may not, on further reflection, be a bad idea (although in many instances, solo and small firm lawyers handle these kinds of […]

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Is Biglaw Planning on Changing the Rules of The Game?

January 27, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

Boo-hoo for biglaw.  Unable to cope with the economic downturn, biglaw may now try to change the rules of the game. Over at Ideoblog, Professor Larry Ribstein faults ethics rules such as the prohibition on non-compete agreements and non-lawyer investment in law firms and conflicts of interest requirements.  For example, Ribstein says that because firms […]

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