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Solo by Choice: First Author’s Cut: My Solo Epiphany

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If you haven’t seen them already, the blogosphere reviews of Solo by Choice are starting to come in.  Also, as promised, here’s the first "Author’s Cut," i.e., material that didn’t make the book.  This excerpt was my original prologue, the piece that got me started after weeks of writer’s block.  It’s entitled My Solo Epiphany and it describes that "aha moment," two years into my law practice, when I first fully appreciated the rewards of solo practice.

October 1995:   As the clock ticks towards midnight, I’m still in my office, hunched over my keyboard, pounding out a reply brief that’s due at the D.C. Circuit tomorrow.  Waiting for my document to print, I catch a glimpse of my disheveled reflection in the darkened window behind my computer.  I know that at this moment, dozens of other young attorneys like myself are spending the night just as I am, toiling away on a brief or a memo or research assignment, maybe even taking a break to stare out of their own darkened windows.  Indeed, I’ve spent countless other nights like this one in law firms across this city but tonight’s different.

My document’s done now, so I grab it off the printer, eyeball each page and sign my name with a flourish on the signature line.  I admire my lone signature and savor the satisfaction of a finished job.  I already know this brief’s a winner, even though it’s only the second one I’ve written entirely on my own, even though it’s not been reviewed and marked up by ten other lawyers, even though I haven’t yet seen the judges nodding sympathetically as I make my argument before the court, even though it will be months before I learn that the court will issue a resounding ruling in my client’s favor and order my opponent to pay $65,000 in attorneys fees.  It’s after 1 a.m. when I leave my office to drop the brief at Kinko’s for copying, around the same time that my exhausted peers are dialing up car service.  Yet, tonight I’m as energized as when I arrived in my office this morning.  Although like my colleagues, I’ve spent the past eighteen hours at the law office, I produced this brief for my client, for my law firm, for me – and at the end of the day, that’s what has made all of the difference.

If you’re interested, you can view the decision here.

  • That is very clever writing!

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