Author to Would-Be Solos: Do It Now

Lawyers who are longing to pursue a solo practice shouldn’t hesitate because of a bad economy, advises an author who is herself a sole practitioner.

Current technology makes it easier than ever before for a law firm associate to hang up a shingle and establish an individual law office. Meanwhile, there is a place in the legal market for skilled sole practitioners whose clients can’t afford to pay big-firm rates, says attorney Carolyn Elefant, the author of Solo By Choice.

“In the past 10 years or so, more and more large-firm lawyers are thinking seriously about leaving and taking a piece of their practice with them—not poaching or stealing clients, but maybe taking those not able to afford large-firm rates, or else clients conflicted out due to firm mergers,” she tells the New York Law Journal in an article reprinted by New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

And for lawyers who leave a job with a larger firm on good terms, there is a good chance of a lucrative continuing relationship that benefits both sides. “If they were treated well, former associates might call in their firms on matters they can’t handle alone—or even go back to their firms after they’ve had valuable court experience,” Elefant tells the legal publication. Meanwhile, the larger firm may refer to the former associate small clients or those it can’t represent due to conflicts, she adds. “I know of small firms and solos making a good practice just taking conflict clients.”

Elefant focuses her practice at her Washington, D.C., law office on energy law. She offers additional ideas and advice about solo practice on her law blog, My Shingle.

Her book has received kudos from a number of fellow law bloggers. Among them: Simple Justice and the Illinois Trial Practice Weblog.

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.