GPSolo Magazine - October/November 2004
Voices of Experience
In high school I participated in a mock trial, and a lawyer from the Durham County Bar Association served as my team’s coach. The experience was fun and fascinating, and I began thinking that the law would be a good career for me.
What influenced your decision to pursue a general practice/solo/small firm career?
My quest to balance my work life with my duties as a wife and mother, while still making time to socialize with friends and participate in bar activities.
What did you find hardest about setting up as a general practice/solo/small firm lawyer, and where did your biggest help come from?
The hardest aspect of going solo was leaving my former firm—I really enjoyed handling the types of legal matters the firm undertakes and working with the clients and the people in that office. Reading through professional liability insurance policies was no bed of roses, either. Luckily, the representatives at Minnesota Lawyers Mutual (a sponsor of GPSolo magazine), made the process of selecting and signing up for malpractice insurance as painless as possible.
What early lawyer experiences have helped you in your career?
My first legal experience was working in the corporate group of a large international law firm based in New York City. There I was able to work with different types of clients and attorneys, get a glimpse of a variety of practice areas, and learn tips, techniques, and styles that I still use today. Also, being active in bar associations, such as the American Bar Association and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, has given me the opportunity to network and make some really great friends, participate in projects that give back to my communities, and attend some stellar CLE programs.
Whom do you most admire?
Lawyers who are tops in their fields yet are grounded and have managed to maintain a balance between work, fitness, and home.
What was the best professional advice you ever received?
Always treat your fellow attorneys with civility and courtesy.
What was the worst professional advice you ever received?
As a “baby lawyer,” I joined a lawyers group for women in Atlanta, Georgia. I was paired up with a mentor and called her on the phone and introduced myself as Amy Lin Meyerson. At the end of the chat with my new mentor, she suggested that I drop the “Lin” because “Amy Lynn” sounded too cutesy. I explained that I am Asian American and Lin is actually my maiden name. I decided that I would rather have some people mistake me for being friends with Peggy Sue than drop the Lin. And it’s funny to see the surprised look on people’s faces when they meet me in person and realize that I’m not the Jewish Southern belle they expected.
Who or what got you started with ABA and/or GP |Solo Section involvement?
I joined the ABA as a law student and joined the GP|Solo Section through its Diversity Fellows Program. It is an excellent opportunity for lawyers and judges of color or diverse background to gain immediate leadership training, significant responsibility, and recognition in funded positions in the Section.
What personality trait has served you best through the years?
Being organized. I am able to readily find things or know where they may be found, and this has allowed me to become more efficient and independent.
What is the one thing you cannot stand regarding the law/lawyers?
Lawyers who do not promote a positive image of the legal profession, especially those who have lost sight of the fact that we are in the service industry practicing law on behalf of our clients.
What advice would you give new lawyers?
• Fully understand your client’s legal issue/problem.
• Learn what is important to your client.
• Give an estimate of legal fees for the work you plan to undertake. Contact your client the minute you believe you will be going over this estimate and explain why.
• Learn how to market yourself to get business from clients, but at the same time weed out the crazies.