By David J. Bilinsky
Why take on the challenges and risks of trying to practice law as a solo? Isn't life filled with enough challenges—raising a family, building a career, planning for retirement, dealing with aging parents and the 1,000 other things that life throws at us? For those of us who have been a solo lawyer, the answer is that going solo is a calling, a test and an opportunity all rolled together in one. It can be exhilarating, liberating, frightening and also incredibly satisfying. There are many lawyers who start down the path of a solo lawyer and then realize that they are not cut out for the life, owing to personality, temperament or other reasons. Certainly it is not an easy lifestyle choice. Yet for those who stand tall and alone on the mountaintop and thrive on it, there would be no other life possible.
As the magazine's incoming Editor-in-Chief, my goal this year is to explore the stages and transitions faced by lawyers such as yourself during your career, and to see what practical advice we can pull together for you from the best minds in the business. In this issue, Law Practice looks at the challenges that solos face and delves into not only the "how" of going solo, but also the "why" behind lawyers going solo, "who" is doing it, "what" satisfaction they gain from the journey, "where" they practice and the collective advice they may have for others in considering "when" to go solo. We look at technology for solos, the finances of being a solo, how to market a solo practice and how to hire your first employee.
I am especially proud of our new Law Practice Case Study feature, which looks at a lawyer facing a complex real-life decision and asks the experts to provide forward, context-relevant advice. The debut installment in this series (which begins on page 43) helps a young lawyer decide whether to go solo and how best to do so. I hope you enjoy it.
This issue would not be what it is without the incredible talents and energy of our Special Issue Editor Reba Nance, who stepped up to the plate on short notice and waved her magic wand to produce some great contents, as well as our editorial staff, our Editorial Advisory Board and the long list of writers and contributors inside these pages. This magazine is truly a team effort and I am honored to be part of that team. I look forward to working with everyone from the ABA Law Practice Management Section in meeting—and hopefully exceeding—your needs for world-class practical advice for a busy lawyer looking to go to the next level.