November 10, 2009

Thinking about going solo?

Here is a short article on things to think about if you are planning to open your own practice.

August 7, 2009

Going Solo?

The theme of the July issue of Law Practice Today is "Suddenly Solo." Offering information for those who choose to open a practice and those who may be suddenly thrust into that arena, the issue is available free at

March 10, 2008

From a new book: Solo By Choice

An excerpt from the new book, Solo by Choice: How to be the lawyer you always wanted to be, by Carolyn Elefant (Decision Books, Seattle, WA, 2008).

If you are considering solo practice, this excellent resource will help you through The Decision, Planning the Great Escape, The Practice, Marketing, and FAQs -- not surprisingly, they are all chapter headings.

The first section, "Six Reasons to Solo," will either inspire you to follow your dream, or settle your mind that solo isn't for you. The six reasons are:

1. Autonomy (freedom to chose cases; freedom in handling a case; freedom over the smallest matters);
2. Practical experience;
3. To feel like a lawyer;
4. Work flexibility;
5. To own, not loan, your talent;
6. Career satisfaction.

You may borrow a copy from the CPDC or you may purchase this from the publisher Decision Books.

April 22, 2007

Ode to Solo Practice

A Solo Experiment: Beginning a law practice.

Sasha E. Mackin graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School, and started Sasha Mackin Law in the summer of 2006, at

IT'S IMPOSSIBLE One of the first things you hear in law school with regard to starting your own practice is something along the lines of, "they're impossibly unpredictable,�? "it's too hard to start on your own,�? and "they're notorious for failing.�? At a lazy backyard party the summer of my 2L year, I heard low voices talk about a couple of friends who had bravely started their own firm but within a year they had split apart, and presumably split the losses as well. Suffice it to say, I thought my path, though precisely unclear that second summer, involved an offer somewhere perhaps working with a government entity, public interest organization, or at least something that was at its core, a law firm. I would have a supervisor and co-workers and a commute.

That never happened.

After graduation in 2005 I spent the summer like many of my friends; taking overly expensive Bar/Bri classes, procrastinating, and then studying constantly in a fear and caffeine-fueled final few weeks before the dreaded Bar exam. A saturated legal market in Minnesota meant that the 1990s expectation of an offer of stability and obscenely large starting salary your second summer was unrealistic for most. I was once sitting in my library carrel reading an article in a law journal, and although I can't recall the substance of the argument, I remember marveling at the descriptions of Texas law students receiving sometimes tens of thousands of dollars in incentive bonuses to join firms, and often even new cars. That wasn't going to be my fate; in part because I wished to stay in Minnesota and even extraordinarily successful firms here no longer hand out $140,000-plus starting salaries to new lawyers, and in part because I wasn't attracted to working for a large firm in the first place. My impetus for entering law school was an intricate mix of an interest in helping the disadvantaged, my experience working as a homicide investigator for the Washington D.C. Public Defender Service, and a childhood realization that I couldn't become a veterinarian because I did not excel at math.

Like many of my colleagues who did not find positions prior to walking across the stage at graduation, post-Bar I applied to different opportunities from judicial clerking to small firms to Westlaw. In the midst of the tedium and frustration of applications, cover letters, and interviews, I was contacted by an immigration attorney to work on a project that would eventually lead to starting my own practice.

The catalyst for my law practice can be found in a series of fortunate events during law school. The first was taking immigration law class, rather by chance via our school's registration lottery system. Then the summer of my 2L year I found myself clerking for the Immigration Court in Bloomington, MN. As a 3L I participated in a year-long Immigration Clinic. My second semester I volunteered to write an appellate brief for a Clinic asylum client that had to be filed in three weeks. No one else wanted to work under that time crunch, but I figured in true student spirit that the payoff to taking the challenge was that I could get my clinic commitment out of the way and lighten my schedule my final semester. After all, hadn't I already managed to cram all of my classes into Tuesday-Thursday? Finishing an obligation early was a natural progression. What I hadn't expected was that I would win the appeal.

Continue reading "Ode to Solo Practice" »

February 8, 2006

Solo Practice: Where can I find out about it? What do I need to know?

Jay Foonberg is the Guru of Solo Practice. An author and widely regarded speaker, his first book, How to Start & Build A Law Practice, is a classic. ...

The ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm section has a great website and welcomes students with newletters and other resources.