Solo v. Big Firm
It’s the classic match-up between David and Goliath—the supersized mega-firm versus Atticus Fitch, P.C.; my client and me against the world. As solos or members of the small firm, we have all been there. Sometimes out-resourced, but never outmatched.
Don’t be intimidated. Generally, the bigger firms are paid on an hourly basis, and they’ll attempt to drown you in paper. Be not afraid. Your client will be more sincere, and you’ll have the winning facts. The big firm client will likely be a faceless entity or “adjuster-type” with too many files. As a solo, you’re trained to be focused and are able to sift the wheat from the chaff. Take heart in your facts and don’t allow the bigger firm to gain mental advantage over you just because of its overhead costs.
Everyone loves the underdog, but this sentiment can only take you so far. Judges and juries will give you some leeway, but you must still carry the day in court. Interestingly, sometimes being “David” may weigh against you, as some triers of fact will presume that the “Goliath firm” must be right because its services cost more. Given the general population’s idea of justice, this false presumption may be more prevalent.
Technology is the great equalizer. As the proverb goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” With the advent of case management software, scanning, and Internet research, solos are able to produce high-quality results without hoards of associates churning a file. You’ll find that many solos are quick to share information regarding technology. In fact, solos are often on the cutting edge of technology, as their practices are built on efficiency. Electronic documents will enable you to organize the file and eliminate the danger of misplacing paper. However, diligently back up your files. Nothing is scarier than a computer malfunction with crucial information lost. Also, a solid laptop and projector can make a sophisticated impression in court.
The community of solos is the largest firm (without all the bad stuff). The collective experience of solo practitioners will be your greatest resource of all. There’s no reason to reinvent the prevailing motion for summary judgment when your fellow solos are more than happy to share it with you. You’ll be surprised how many practitioners have come across the same issues, difficult opponents, motions, judges, or situations that you’ll face at the trial level. This resource will be more valuable than any treatise or form book.
Bryan Ramos is a solo practitioner at The Ramos Law Firm in Atlanta Georgia. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 355-3431.