GPSolo March 2007
FROM THE EDITOR
Parentpreneurs: A Growing Segment of the GP|Solo Market
Parentpreneurs, or working parents who start a home-based law firm so they can spend more time with their families, are an explosive segment of the ever-changing profession. As a result, GPSOLO magazine and the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division are changing, too.
Solos have always been the entrepreneurs of the legal markets. Solos have to manage their business, market their business, and practice law—usually all on the same day. But parentpreneurs are a different breed. Usually, parentpreneurs have seen the other side and have made a conscious choice not to work in the big firm or corporate setting any longer. Upon becoming parents, their priorities changed. Parentpreneurs are used to working with a group, however, and handling a small part of a bigger project is a natural way to work.
Parentpreneurs are the new temp workers—temp workers with skills and experience that make them an asset to both small and large law firms. They draft pleadings, analyze documents, review transactional documents, and handle legal research. Because of their experience, they are good at seeing the very big picture and integrating their work into a larger project.
Parentpreneurs who act as traditional contract workers market themselves to other lawyers, both big-firm lawyers and solo/small firm lawyers. Thus, bar associations and relationship building are integral parts of growing their businesses. The ABA and state and local bar associations allow these relationships to grow. Parentpreneurs are not just important members of bar associations but are important leaders as well.
Some parentpreneurs manage a “traditional” solo law firm, but they do it from the office, from their home, from the car, and sometimes even from school field trips. These parentpreneurs are also assets to bar associations, but in a more traditional way.
Parentpreneurs are addicted to technology for legal research, practice management, and communication. Westlaw, Lexis, and other computer-based research tools are the lifeline of their practice. They could not imagine not working on the computer, and the BlackBerry and iPod are in their back pockets keeping them in touch and informed.
The ABA is feeding that addiction. GP|Solo has a research links web page. Westlaw and Lexis have special pricing for sole practitioners, making their technology affordable for solo lawyers. The ABA also has a technology resource center, which provides a comprehensive collection of technology and resources.
Lawyers can purchase iPods from the ABA with preloaded programming for their practice area. ABA Continuing Legal Education has a monthly podcast, which can be accessed through iTunes or via http://feeds.feedburner.com/abacle2.
GPSOLO magazine is constantly looking for ways to serve the sole practitioner. We want to serve the Main Street lawyer and the contract lawyer. Parentpreneurs are part of those groups, but they have a special agenda. This “little agenda” means no free time between 6:00 AM and 9:00 PM, and legal literature is often shelved until the parentpreneur is waiting at soccer practice, crawling into bed, or sometimes even going to the bathroom!
The Best of ABA Sections edition of GPSOLO magazine attempts to provide insight into the publications of the ABA—a little slice of heaven, shall we say—in a fraction of the time. The articles in Best of ABA Sections are chosen from the Sections’ substantive publications, then edited, shorted, and summarized into concise two-page packages. Whether you are a brand-new lawyer or a seasoned sole practitioner, whether you handle a general practice caseload or you are a parentpreneur chasing your little one around the playground, we hope that you find something to assist your practice and a resource for further information in our Best of ABA Sections editions. Let us know what you think… your feedback is not only important to us but valued by us as we continue to search for the crème de la crème for Best of ABA Sections.
Jennifer J. Ator practices with Tannebaum Weiss in Miami, Florida. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.