GPSolo Magazine - July/August 2004

A Team of Your Own

The winning team. Team players and teamwork. Team building. Team spirit. What do those concepts mean to you? The Green Bay Packers and the World Series? A tennis doubles team? A team of doctors and nurses? A search-and-rescue team? A management team? A research team of scholars? A team of general practice, solo, and small firm lawyers?

Each of these teams operates in a different manner and to unique ends, assigning different roles to its players. In some teams, each player has a fixed position, and in others, team members provide backup and support to one another. Some teams operate as pure democracies, while enlightened dictators lead others. Some may be captained by committee, and some function as anarchies. Some teams expect to last into perpetuity, and some are intended only to pursue ephemeral goals. A team can have as many variations as there are hues of the rainbow. A team is more than a matter of color-coordinated uniforms, a fight song, and a mascot. Whenever two or more people work together, they’re doing so as a team.

Even a prima donna or a one-actor show depends upon a team. After all, someone’s got to do the heavy lifting, turn on the lights, make the costumes, sell the tickets, book the shows, and collect the money. Where would Madonna be today were it not for her teams?

Now, how does the concept of team apply to a solo or small firm lawyer? Teams are nothing more than tools for getting the job done. Teams are simply part of every law office’s arsenal, along with a computer, a Westlaw account, and ABA membership. Every lawyer, even those who proclaim, “I’m not a team player,” is part of a constellation of teams, ranging from office staff to other lawyers and potential sources of business.

This issue of GPSolo focuses on the pivotal theme developed by incoming Section Chair Lee S. Kolczun—“We Are a Team. And unless you’re a lawyer practicing alone on a desert island, bereft of the benefit of modern technology and having given up all hope of sending that message in a bottle (which probably means that you have neither clients nor a practice), you’re on the team, too.

Our Dream Team of authors have covered the field in this issue from the team within your office to finding the right law partner, associate, or employer, to joining forces with clients, setting up co-ventures with other lawyers, making and taking referrals from other lawyers, partnering with in-house counsel and the government, practicing with a spouse or significant other, teaming up with experts, and even teaming up with the community.

What lawyer couldn’t use the service of a consigliere, concierge, Dutch uncle, techno-guru, midwife, and Dr. Frasier Crane at one time or another? That’s where PMAs—practice management advisors—come into play, and you’ll find some valuable tips on what they can and can’t do for your practice.

There’s something in this issue for every lawyer, from the lonely, rugged individualist practicing as a true solo without support staff to the general commanding a cast of thousands. It’s about working with others.

jennifer j. rose, editor-in-chief of GPSolo , is a lawyer and writer living in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. She can be reached at jenniferrose@abanet.org.

 

 

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