THE CHAIR’S CORNER
Simply the Best

By Joseph A. DeWoskin

What does the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division have to do with professional wrestling? More than you’d ever imagine. To steal some thunder from Bret “the Hitman” Hart, this Bar Year’s going to be “the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.” Hart has a lot in common with general practice, solo, and small firm lawyers because when he’s not a world heavyweight champion, he’s a writer, actor, humanitarian, role model, and motivational speaker. He’s the kind of fellow you want in your corner.

In less than a month, GPSolo Division members and friends from across the land will converge on Austin, Texas, for the Division’s 2010 Fall Meeting and the Fifth Annual National Solo and Small Firm Conference. This year’s conference, chaired by Vicki Levy Eskin, will have three tracks: Smart Substantive Law, Smart Soloing, and Smart Practice, with speakers hailing from Waukesha and Guadalajara and points in between. Among the nationally known invited speakers are Jeffrey M. Allen, Patrick W. Begos, Christopher Brown, Sharon Campbell, Mark A. Chinn, Lloyd D. Cohen, Martha Dickie, Robert Doggett, Cliff Ennico, Wendell Finner, Jay Fleischman, Paula J. Frederick, Debra S. Hart-Cohen, Craig Jordan, Christopher R. Kaup, Ross L. Kodner, John P. Macy, Felipe Marron, Deborah G. Matthews, Lincoln Mead, Ignacio Pinto-Leon, Bennie Ramirez, jennifer j. rose, Jennifer Rymell, James Schwartz, Todd C. Scott, Allison C. Shields, Elaine Silver, Andrew C. Simpson, and Stephen S. Wu. Austinite Antonio “Tony” Alvarado started planning this meeting as our man on the ground three years ago, back when no one, least of all me, thought I’d be writing this Chair’s column, and he’s making sure that this meeting will be the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.

It’s no small secret that solos and small firm lawyers don’t belong to the American Bar Association (ABA), at least in the same proportions that they’re represented in the population of all lawyers practicing in the country. Although it’s taken time for the ABA to reach this point, it’s finally figured out that the major reason they don’t belong is the money angle. Even though the ABA had a special dues rate for judges, military lawyers, lawyers in government, legal aid and indigent defense lawyers, law school faculty, disabled lawyers, and senior lawyers, there was no special dues rate for lawyers who practice all by themselves—until this year, when solos were given the same discounted rates as judges and lawyers paid by the government.

Solos admitted to practice a decade ago now pay $225 instead of $399, a savings of $174.

We’ll welcome even those lawyers who find the current dues rates beyond their means. Lawyers who are unemployed or facing financial hardship can have their dues reduced even more—simply by asking (for more, see www.abanet.org/members/financialhardship). The ABA won’t ask those lawyers to submit tax returns or financial statements. Your word is good enough.

But wait, there’s more. For those lawyers whose dues are reduced because of financial hardship, the GPSolo Division will reduce its dues from $45 to $5. We want you. We even want you more than we want your money. We just want the chance to show you that the ABA and the GPSolo Division are worth the money. The products you receive, the networking opportunities, and the knowledge obtained from us are beyond compare.

Join us, and you’re joining the largest law firm in the world. Just think: more than 20,000 members, no firm meetings, no ritual and hierarchy, no partnership tracks, no office politics, no compensation committee, and no jockeying for the corner office. Everything you bring in is yours, and yours alone!

Become a part of the GPSolo Division and help us remain the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.

 


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