Remember the Underground Railroad, the hidden network of safe houses and secret routes created by abolitionist sympathetizers to help slaves escape to freedom during he pre-Civil War era? After spending time in the company of my fellow solos at the National Solo and Small Firm Conference this past week, I realized that another type of underground railroad exists – one comprised of solo and small firm lawyers who help their colleagues escape to the freedom of solo practice, through informal measures such as mentoring colleagues, volunteering information about “where can I find (a virtual assistant or a good blog designer or shared ofice space) and providing feedback on marketing plans or substantive pleadings. Each time, I return from a gathering of solos, I’m always amazed by the generosity of solos and their willingness to share information and generally help each other out.
Blogs and books are great resources for starting a solo practice. But they can’t cover every topic or address every question. That’s why there’s nothing quite as powerful as the personal advice that we solos pass along, generation to generation, colleague to colleague, building a pathway to help other lawyers travel to success. And as those lawyers travel the solo route, they transform from passengers to participants, building the railroad out even as they engage in the journey.
Where can you find a gate to the Underground Solo Railroad? In my case, I boarded through Solosez, which now stands 3500 members strong. But these days, you can find solos willing to share on local listserves and even Twitter. And if you’re currently a practicing solo, reach out to those whom you think, like you, might also enjoy this very special ride.