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Gaining Competence

Should You Ever Play the Solo Card?

November 16, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

For solo and small firm lawyers who routinely battle big law, there’s often a temptation to play the solo card. In other words, to seek special dispensation from court rules and practices in light of solos’ more limited time and resources. Some lawyers believe that playing the solo card is justified as a way to […]

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Is This Really How You Want To Practice Law?

August 22, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

Well, it pays the bills. A solo criminal defense practice that generates over $100,000 in billings. No employees and no need to advertise.  There’s just one small detail: you’ll handle 558 cases in a year and take 4 to trial. Fewer than one percent. It’s not difficult to find a solo practice like the one […]

Read more Criminal Law, Practice & Policy 15 comments

The Unbearable Smugness of an Experienced Lawyer

August 7, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

During a recent Social Media for Lawyers book-signing at the ABA Conference with my co-author, Nicole Black, a lawyer came past the table, picked up the book with her fingertips, as if it were radioactive, then set it down and sniffed “Oh, social media. I just don’t do any of this stuff.” When pressed, the […]

Read more Ethics Issues 10 comments

Let’s Pay New Lawyers To Do CLE

September 15, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

Let me start by saying that I don’t like mandatory CLE (I’m not alone in this view either). Frankly, CLE doesn’t improve our profession and worse, gives the public a false sense of security that lawyers are competent. Let’s face it: those lawyers who take their obligations seriously will always take classes, follow relevant blogs […]

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Is Skills Training Overrated…The Fourth Circuit Shows Why

April 6, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

If you’ve followed me at this site for a while, you’d discover that I’m not particularly a fan of skills training in law school.  Sure, I’m familiar with and agree with much in the Carnegie Report, which argues that law school needs to incorporate more skills training.  However, I’ve always believed that between clinical courses, moot […]

Read more Courts & Practice 9 comments

Utah Offers Formal Program, But Nothing Precludes You From Building Your Own

August 3, 2009 by Carolyn Elefant

New law graduates embarking on the practice of law in Utah won’t have to stumble around helplessly as they try to figure out the nuts and bolts of law practice.  According to the Salt Lake City Tribune (H/T ABA Journal) Utah has just implemented a mandatory mentoring program that pairs all new attorneys (not just solos) […]

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Free Foreclosure Training for Maryland Attorneys/Why Pro Bono Is A Win-Win

July 10, 2008 by Carolyn Elefant

UPDATE:  The relatively new blog, Nextlex notes these FREE PLI webinar resources on foreclosure law and predatory lending. In both my book and on this blog, I’ve written that pro bono training programs offer one of the cheapest and most effective ways to get up to speed on matters that you might handle in your […]

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Required Mentoring for New Lawyers- What Do You Think?

April 22, 2008 by Carolyn Elefant

According to this article, the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism recently adopted a recommendation that would require every lawyer admitted to the Florida Bar – 2000 of them annually – to obtain a mentor during the first year of practice.  The Commission has now asked a special blue-ribbon committee to study ways to implement […]

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How to Get Transactional Training

April 13, 2008 by Carolyn Elefant

Much of the advice on learning new practice skills relates primarily to litigation oriented practices.  As I’ve discussed in Solo by Choice, a new solo or lawyer interested in trial work can spend a few days court-watching, accompany a more experienced lawyer to depositions or pick up a pro bono case which might entail representing […]

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Listserves: The Problem or the Solution For Improving Lawyer Competency?

December 17, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

When I’m asked to list the resources that have helped improve my competency as a lawyer, I’d place blogs and listserves high on the list. In particular, the guidance that I’ve received from that mother-of-all-solo-listserves, Solosez has helped me tackle issues far more effectively than I could have on my own, while other feedback has […]

Read more Ethics & Malpractice Issues 5 comments