Speaking Events

Carolyn is a frequent speaker at law schools, bar associations and industry sponsored webinars on nuts & bolts topics (starting a law firm, niche practice and marketing a firm) to unique, big picture topics (21st century trends, “Free,” “Outsourcing Innovation, Creating Business Networking Groups).  A solo by choice who maintains an active firm and practices what she preaches, Carolyn has been described as a knowledgeable, dynamic and inspiring speaker who offers new perspectives and leaves participants reinvigorated about the practice of law.   To view clips and testimonials from previous talks, click here.  You may contact Carolyn for additional information about her speaking appearances through the form by clicking here.


Social Media

Building, Growing and Managing a Law Practice
In tough economic times, it’s more important than ever to think strategically about building a law firm.  We’ll discuss planning for the future and opportunities to criminal defense lawyers to niche their practice or repurpose skills to diversify their practices without ever compromising quality.

The Practice III
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Eden Roc Renaissance, Miami Beach Florida
October 15, 2010

Social Media for Lawyers (moderating panel), The Future of Solo & Small Firm Practice
New York State Bar Association
Building a Solo & Small Firm Practice
November 8, 2010


Philadelphia, PA
October 2007

Contract Lawyering (w/co-presenter: Lisa Solomon)

Los Angeles Solo and Small Firm Conference (June 2008)

How to Start A Business Networking Group to Build Referrals, Relationships and Reputation

Tired of paying big bucks to a professional networking group that doesn’t generate any business for you?  Or does your bar prohibit you from joining groups like BNI?  Networking groups can offer enormous business opportunities if created strategically.  Plus, social media and other online tools make it easier than ever to set up a business networking group tailored exclusively for your practice needs.  This course covers the nuts and bolts of business networking groups, successful case studies and ethics considerations.

ABA Tech Show 2008

  • Technology for Solo & Small Firm Lawyers (co-presented with David Masters)
  • Using Technology to Attract and Retain Clients (co-presented with Toby Brown)

Solo by Choice in the Current Economy
November 20, 2009

Oregon State Bar Center, Portland Oregon

Busting the Myths of Starting a Solo Practice

  • Working for yourself is not a “dead end,” it can be a way to find a second chance in your career.
  • You are in control.  This is the best part of being a solo, because you call the shots.  You can reduce overhead, adapt your practice areas, or change your business plan on a dime.
  • Solo practice need not be isolating:  seek out opportunities to work with others.
  • Going solo doesn’t mean you won’t be intellectually challenged.  A solo practice can be rich and varied, with complex legal issues.
  • Remember: you’re a lawyer like everybody else.  Why can’t you start your own law firm?

Setting Up a Practice On the Cheap

  • Keep overhead low.  Learn from the trends:  Big Law is sending business overseas to cut costs and clients are becoming less and less tolerant of lawyers passing on overhead.
  • Grow your practice economically by outsourcing in lieu of hiring full or part-time employees.  Options include virtual assistants, contract lawyers, law clerks, or bookkeeping services.
  • Think of meeting with a client in their home as a convenience for them.  You don’t necessarily need to rent office space.
  • Mobile technology gives you the freedom and flexibility to run a home-based practice.  Any cash you spend on a laptop, Smartphone or MiFi card will be a terrific return-on-investment.  If your budget won’t allow for mobile technology up front, repurpose what you already have.

Bonus: Free Tools for Setting Up Your Practice

Sponsored by Professional Liability Fund, The OSB Sole and Small Firm Practitioners Section, and the OSB Law Practice Management Section

Case Western Law School,
Cleveland Ohio February 4-5, 2010

The Future of Law and Creating a Business Plan for Law Practice

Washington College of Law,

American University,Washington D.C.
February 2009, February 2010 and September 2010

The How and Why of Starting a  Law Practice

Invited back for repeat performances on popular demand, Carolyn’s talk shows why solo practice is a viable career option, how students can leverage solo practice to find a job (if they are interested in employment) and the nuts and bolts of starting a law firm in the 21st century.  Click here to view this music video based on Carolyn’s talk here.

ABA Tech Show 2010

Social Media for Lawyers (co presenter, Nicole Black)
An overview of social media tools for lawyers, and how to use them in your practice, based roughly on the presenters’ book, Social Media for Lawyers:  The Next Frontier (ABA 2010)

Crossing the Digital Divide: Emarketing to Clients and Prospects
Cheap digital tools abound.  These quick presentation shows how to use these tools as part of a strategic marketing campaign for clients.  Click here to see the slideshow.

ABA Tech Show/Ignite 2010

Outsourcing Innovation and the Lessons of Tommy Supreme
Innovation within any big establishment is tough, even more so at big law firms where fealty to tradition, the “lock step monster” syndrome and aversion to technology pose enormous obstacles to change.  In this talk, I’ll discuss how outsourcing innovation can help large firms cultivate new ways of doing business with minimal risk while at the same time, offering enormous opportunities to savvy solos and displaced junior associates.   And as an analogy, I’ll focus on the example of the legendary Tommy Supreme – aka Tom Goldstein – who started a Supreme Court litigation practice by ambulance chasing cases and by leveraging 21st century trends (technology, freemium, bootstrapping), developed the expertise and business model for Supreme Court litigation that was eventually acquired by a mega-law firm.
See a video clip here.

Starting Your Own Law Practice
New York State Bar Association CLE
May 20, 2010

Managing Your Practice:  Developing Checklists
Drawing on the basics of Atul Gawande’s bestseller, The Checklist Manifesto, this program shows why checklists are important to running a law practice and how you can develop effective checklists to serve your practice.  (30 minute overview program)

The Future of Solo and Small Firm Law Practice

A 30 minute overview of trends in the future that will impact solo and small firm practice

The Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference
June 10-12, 2010
Tan-Tar-A Resort at the Lake of the Ozarks
Solo, Step Two: Expanding a Practice Through Collaboration, Affiliations, Alliances and Lawyer Networks
You know that you can GO solo, but did you know that you can also GROW solo? In other words, you can build out a small practice without taking on multiple partners and a highly leveraged associate structure. In fact, flexible law firms are expected to be a 21st century trend. Learn about different variants of firms ‐ from outsourcing to contract lawyers to of counsel agreements, collaborations and virtual practices ‐ as well as the tools that facilitate collaboration.

Be THAT Lawyer: Why Niches are Delicious and How You Can Incorporate One Into Your Practice
It sounds counter‐intuitive but in many ways, it’s easier to build up your practice by focusing on a niche. Even if you only generate 10 percent of your business from a niche, the beauty is that the niche, if done properly, can generate enough visibility to drive clients to your other practice areas. In this program, we’ll learn what a niche is (and how it differs from a specialization), how to choose a niche and most importantly, how to market it so that you’re the best in the world‐ even if it’s just the narrow world of your niche!  View the slidedeck of this presentation here.

Bootstrapping Your Practice:
How to Develop Your Business Plan and Leverage Free, Low
Fee and Mobile Tools to Start a 21st Century Practice (Co-Speakers: Ann Littell Mills & Jim Wieczorek)
In this session, bootstrapping is defined as starting a practice on a shoestring budget and stretching scare resources to the limit. You’ll discover free and low cost resources for your practice and how to determine if free or cheap is the best choice economically. It’s critical to lay the proper foundation for your law practice. Your business plan for bootstrapping is the foundation of your practice and can be critical to your success. You’ll learn the five key features and resources for the execution of your business plan and how keep it working for you.

Practice Necessities for Success: How to Find Clients and When You Do How to Set and Collect Fees
(Co Speakers: Stacey Meinen, Gordon Rea)
You can do everything right when setting up your practice, but without a steady flow of paying clients, it’s not possible for your law practice to thrive or survive. So, how do you find quality clients? In this session you’ll learn about marketing strategies to help you build your practice with paying clients. A necessary part of the attorney‐client relationship is a clear understanding and mutual agreement about how you’ll be paid. We’ll explore the key elements of setting fees to be competitive and the four prongs of collecting your fees.

2010 Strategic Solutions for Solo and Small Firms Conference
Monday, August 02, 2010 – Tuesday, August 03, 2010
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM (Central Time)
Duluth Entertainment Conv Ctr
350 Harbor Dr
Duluth, MN 55802-2698

One, Two, Free: Infinite Challenges and Endless Opportunities When Price Approaches Zero

You may have noticed a trend towards free these days.  From social media applications (like Facebook and LinkedIn) to free netbooks when you sign up for data plans, seems that everyone is giving something away. And as more products and services can be had for free, consumers come to expect free services – even from lawyers. This session will discuss these trends towards free, identify examples of lawyers who are giving away products and services for free and help find ways that you can apply free to attract new clients and retain existing ones – and even streamline your practice in the process.

Solo Practice Systems for Success

Many solos work entirely on their own, which means that they’re responsible for everything, from mastering substantive legal issues to sending out invoices and marketing their practices. All told, non-legal tasks can account for as a much as forty percent of a solo’s work week, which means less time for family or billable matters. Moreover, shouldering the burden of a practice can make it difficult for solos to plan a vacation or worse, make it impossible for another lawyer to take over in the event of an emergency. That’s why solos need systems, even if they work entirely on their own. Many tasks, such as calendaring or invoicing can be automated, while others, such as regular marketing can be accomplished through planning and partly, carried out online. This session will focus on free and low-cost tools that solos can integrate into their practices. Of course, some solos are so busy that even systems won’t save enough time – and thus, this program will also help diagnose whether you’ve reached a point where you may need to consider part-time support for your practice.

Our Finest Hour: How Solos Will Lead Our Profession Back to the Future

Futurists like Richard Susskind predict that the 21st Century will be the end of lawyers; that technology will routinize much of the work that solo and small firm lawyers do, ultimately rendering them obsolete. But in reality, technology, judiciously employed, can free lawyers up to practice law the way we dreamed of back in law school. This closing talk will remind solo and small firm lawyers of the role that we play as agents of change in the legal profession.

Using Social Media in Your Practice
(Co-presented with Samuel J. Glover & Lisa Solomon)

Important principles for effective participation.

2010 NCLE-Solo & Small Firm Conference
Thursday, August 05, 2010 (12:00 PM) – Friday, August 06, 2010

The Future of 21st Century Solo and Small Firm Practice

The practice of law is changing and solos and small firm lawyers need to keep pace.  Just as technology is changing consumers’ day to day interactions, so too it is altering our potential clients’ needs, expectations and preferred means of communication.  Learn how technology-enabled trends like boot-strapping, the DIY consumer, social media, alternative billing and more are taking hold in other industries and what that means for solo and small firm lawyers.


Carolyn has presented self-sponsored webinars on topics including Part Time Shingle, From Biglaw to Your Law, Solo Practice in the New Economy, as well as at webinars sponsored by vendors such as Avvo (Social Media for Lawyers) and LexisNexis (Niche Practice).

To view clips and testimonials click here.