The Chair’s Corner
Keep It Simple, Stupid

By Keith B. McLennan

How many times have we been reminded of that simple and stupid acronym KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) when working on a project or dealing with an issue? Although I am a veracious user of clichés, I hardly ever use KISS regardless of the fact that it is perhaps one of the most descriptive. It is particularly useful this bar year as the theme is “Simplify Your Practice, Your Profession, Your Life.”

The first objective of the theme is to simplify your practice. The publication you are reading now is perhaps the best example of how this Division can help you simplify your practice. These Best of ABA Sections issues of GPSolo are our Readers’ Digest version of practical articles authored by other Sections and Divisions within the ABA; our Editorial Board chooses diverse articles and places them in a single publication for the benefit of general practice, solo, and small firm lawyers. I think you will agree it is an excellent resource for those of us who practice in more than one area. Where else can you obtain articles that discuss the practical aspects of such fields as intellectual property, labor and employment, and tax law and that highlight the impact of these fields on your primary areas of practice, allowing you to avoid reinventing the wheel so you can leave the office at a reasonable hour to spend time on your other career: your family, friends, and yourself?

Best of ABA Sections is published twice a year, with the next issue due in March 2008. Look for more practical tools to assist you in that edition. This publication is available for distribution by other Sections and Divisions of the ABA should they wish to incorporate it into their offerings to their members—another example of how the GP|Solo Division is reaching out to provide content and cooperation across the ABA.

An equally important resource for simplification is the Solosez listserve (www.solosez.net). This cyber-watercooler provides thousands of members not only in the United States but throughout the world the ability to post questions and answers on issues ranging from legal concerns to practice management problems encountered in everyday practice. Cases are referred, answers are provided, and forms are shared. Responses are numerous and thorough and usually result in lifelong friendships among list mates. If you have not participated in the Solosez listserve, you are missing a real gem. A quick way to capture some of this critical knowledge is to check out our cutting-edge electronic publication The Buzz (www.abanet.org/genpractice/buzz/buzzsignup.html), where highlights of recent Solosez threads can be found.

A third tool to help simplify your practice can be experienced at our quarterly meetings. Our next meeting is October 4 to 7 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, held in conjunction with the Second Annual National Solo and Small Firm Conference. Our Division meetings let you put faces to names and build your network of outstanding professionals you can turn to at no obligation when you need help. Whether it is an expert on divorce in Los Angeles, help with that collection case in Fort Worth, a lead on a conference room in Massachusetts, or local counsel in Wisconsin, it is difficult to build your network without an organization like ours that has a national—and, in fact, international—footprint.

What’s more, the countless hours I’ve devoted to the GP|Solo Division cannot truly be called “uncompensated.” I have been referred numerous cases by my ABA network of friends, developed at Division meetings. Further, these friends are “connected” and know how to get things done for my clients. As we all know, the law is a relationship game, and you need to build a network that can aid you in your everyday practice. There is nothing more powerful than being able to pick up the phone and speak with a lawyer from another town or state who can resolve a problem for you or help you gain entry to the inner sanctum of dispute resolution in another community. I strongly urge you to take the time to attend our meetings. This might seem like just one additional hassle, but in the long run your increased involvement in the Division will help you handle all those other items on your to-do list—and enable you to keep it simple.

Copyright 2007

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