My Shingle

Questions & Advice

Does Doing Work That’s Hard Work for Solos Seeking to Grow?

May 21, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

Marketing god Seth Godin recently urged his audience to take up the challenge of doing what’s hard: In an industrial setting, the obvious plan is to seek out the easy work. You’re more likely to get it done with less effort and then move on[…] Today, though, it’s the difficult work that’s worth doing. It’s […]

Read more MyShingle Solo 7 comments

Ideas for Complying With the Legal Professional Code From Computer Coders

May 12, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

A couple of weeks ago, I embarked on the long journey of learning and mastering computer code for several reasons. First, as I approach a milestone birthday (and work through the concomitant midlife crisis), I’ve felt compelled to try something new. Second, since I so frequently criticize  many of the legal tech startups for not […]

Read more Ethics & Malpractice Issues 30 comments

Managing Law School Debt: An Interview with Bankruptcy and Student Loan Lawyer Jay Fleischman

October 7, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

Today more than ever, student loan debt stands as one of the most significant barriers to starting a law firm. I haven’t forgotten the early years of my practice when I took on court-appointed criminal cases and a variety of lower-paid contract assignments not just to gain experience but also to cover my $700/month loan […]

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Open Letter to New Lawyer: You should be dragging me into the 21st century not the other way around

January 17, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

Dear New Lawyer, At 48 years old, I am old enough to be your mother.  And you should be ashamed of yourself.  Here you are, coming to me for a legal job when you don’t know the first thing about RSS feeds, blogging (reading them, let alone writing them), Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube.  And what’s […]

Read more Encouragement 36 comments

Solo Practice Post-Mortem Part III: Would He Have Made It and Was Soloing a Bad Idea?

August 23, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

Scott Greenfield responded to Part I and Part II on Post-Mortem of a solo practice. Scott criticizes everything from the author of the post (who left a successful practice to start a firm partly because he didn’t like the work he was doing and partly for a better work life balance) to the value of social […]

Read more Planning a Practice 5 comments

Are You a Nobody Until You Win Your Case?

August 20, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

Noted video-expert and medical malpractice attorney, Gerry Oginski criticizes a Jacoby & Meyers television commercial that concludes with the voiceover: You’re a nobody until you win your case. Gerry comments – and I agree – that the ad isn’t particularly effective marketing since calling potential clients “nobodies” may instill hard feelings at the outset. Though […]

Read more Client Relations 1 comment

Should A Law Student Considering Solo Practice Blog Now? Yes, Yes & Yes!

July 3, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

One of my readers, a 3L who’s planning to solo on graduation recently emailed this  [paraphrased] question: What are your thoughts on a law student starting a blog in preparation of starting a firm? I understand that I’ll need to include disclaimers that I am not an attorney or giving legal advice, but can blogging […]

Read more Blogging 4 comments

Lessons from Crowdsourced Advice for a Struggling Solo

September 26, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

Ten days ago, in an effort to reply quickly to a struggling solo who’d contacted me for advice, I reached out to readers to crowdsource a response. The post touched off 40 comments, some offering sound advice to a solo in these circumstances, others not so much. The comments also spawned several sub-discussions on what’s […]

Read more Growing Your Practice 2 comments

Crowdsourcing Advice for a Struggling Solo

September 16, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

[Update 9/23–Readers – thank you for your response.  We’ve collected an enormous amount of information, some very helpful, some of it obvious and some of it (diving in full force to cases by copying pleadings stood out to me as inadvisable and potential career killer but there are others). I’ve got to read through everything […]

Read more Growing Your Practice 40 comments

Some Open Questions for Flat Fee Aficionados and Ethics Gurus

May 9, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

Over the past few years, I’ve transitioned my practice from the billable hour to flat fees. For me, the flat fee works because most of the matters that I handle are, if not entirely predictable, then easily divided into discrete segments, each of which can each be assigned a set price. Though I can’t tell […]

Read more Questions & Advice 13 comments