GPSolo Magazine - October/November 2004
The Chair’s Corner
What lawyer hasn’t suffered a bump in the road at one time or another? You know what I mean—everything’s rolling along swell and fine, and suddenly the San Andreas fault opens up beneath you. The bump can mean a near disaster, a setback, or something that changes your course.
As solos and small firm lawyers, we specialize in bumps in the road. And so, too, does the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section. Our Section’s books, magazines, newsletters, committees, and continuing education are produced with you in mind. The friendships and alliances built up through Section activities have been lifesavers to many. The Section is here to keep you on course and help you make it through when the road gets rough.
You may have heard that the ABA Standing Committee on Solo and Small Firm Practitioners lost its funding recently when the Board of Governors decided that its mission could be met elsewhere within the ABA. The role of the Standing Committee was to coordinate between all ABA entities to help solos and small firm practitioners. It met these goals through a caucus at the Annual and Midyear Meetings, a liaison program with all ABA entities, an annual survey of solos and small firm lawyers in ABA leadership positions, a grant program to state and local bar programs benefiting solos and small firm practitioners, a catalog of ABA publications specifically for solos and small firm practitioners, the Solosez listserve, and the www.solosez.net website. The General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division now will take over some of the Committee’s work.
One of the responsibilities that the Section is taking over is Solosez, the most active mailing list in the ABA and the most visible of the Standing Committee’s projects. This group calls itself “the largest law firm of solo and small firm practitioners” and, as of August, was composed of some 1,084 members. Solosez is open to solo and small firm lawyers without regard to ABA membership. This noisy, rambunctious, and sometimes irreverent community acts just like a real law firm, complete with coalition building, heated disputes, water-cooler discussions of personal matters, 11th-hour pleas for help, business referrals, and the like. Check it out. If you are interested in joining Solosez, you can sign up for free at www.solosez.net. Get ready, because you’ll stay on your toes and have fun as you practice law with other solos and small firm members.
Our Section is the voice of solos and small firm lawyers. When we look at the statistics, solos and small firm practitioners make up two-thirds of the lawyers in this country, but they fill only about one-quarter of the ranks of ABA membership. Furthermore, the GPSSF Section represents only about one-fifth of all solos and small firm practitioners within the ABA. This year the Section will champion an effort to reach out and bring the services of the ABA and all its sections and entities to those lawyers. Our Section has a long history of reaching out to solos and small firms, even those who are not among its members. We will continue that outreach through the sponsorship of Solosez.
If solos and small firm lawyers are to influence the direction of the legal profession in this country, they need to become more involved in the ABA and its Sections. We are asking you to join us to make that positive change. Join our team, so together everyone accomplishes more.