General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

A service of the ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division


American Bar Association - Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice

July 2008

Chair's Note

[Photo of Keith B. McLennan]
Keith B. McLennan
Chair, GP|Solo Division

Practical Simplicity means Success

Most of us fail to stop and take stock of what we are doing in this gig as lawyers.  I know that I am perhaps the biggest culprit as I am often accused of failing to plan well in advance.  The rigors of managing a practice where you are bombarded with hundreds of emails a day only allows many of us to be reactive putting out fires all day long. We need to be able to “plan ahead” and be proactive.  That has been the theme this year, to Simplify providing practical tools to all of you so that you can find time for yourself and your family. When I look at publications like this one or GP Solo or Law Trends I know that we have been true to that mission as all are full of practical, how to advice as well as forms and checklists that you can use in your daily practices so that you can eventually plan ahead.

We will continue that practical approach to our mission when I leave as chair at the end of the annual meeting in August as each year we continue themes championed by prior chairs.  Transitioning to Bob Zupkus will be easy as he too believes in the practical approach as evidenced by the Fall Meeting and National Solo & Small Firm Conference to be held in Santa Fe on October 2-4 highlighted in this publication. 

Our featured Book: Federal Tax Procedure for Attorneys is devoid of esoterica and gets you right to the heart of the topic. “The Ethics Checklists for Solo and Small Firm Practice” from the Standing Committee on Professional Discipline provides you guidance available no where else.

The story on the Maryland Lunch Bunch championed by our own Deb Matthews shows that lawyers do get along and generously help each other and our ever popular Solo Newsletter aids us all in the management of the practice.

Our Annual Meeting in New York from August 7-10 will be no different. Solo Day on Friday is chock full of topics and steps you can immediately employ to Simplify your practice. Our Military Law Lunch and Dining Out on Friday and Saturday are a tribute to our fellow lawyers in uniform and our Solo and Small Firm Caucus on Sunday morning will address the topic of cost recovery with the assistance of our friends from Thomson West. I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting, if you have not signed up for the Military Law Lunch or Solo Day both on Friday or the Military Dining Out on Saturday night and the Solo and Small Firm Lawyers Caucus on Sunday morning at 7:30 please don’t delay, sign up now by logging onto our web page at Also, don’t forget the ever popular Chair’s Hospitality Suite. Friday evening is sponsored by the American Bar Endowment. The Chair’s Suite is a great place to get more engaged in the excellent work that hundreds of volunteers expend to provide you these tools. We are always looking for new blood and ideas so don’t be shy, stop in at the hospitality suite and introduce yourself, you will be glad you did.


Keith B. McLennan
Chair, General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

Here is a bit of what we have in store for you in New York. Visit our 2008 ABA Annual Meeting Webpage for more information

Solo Day
Friday, August 8

  • Takin’ It To The House:  The Law Firm as Business – Fundamentals of Organizing and Setting Up Your Firm’s Structure and Operation
  • Running With The Big Dogs: How To Eat Well Without Being Swallowed Up—A Primer on Getting Work from Large Law Firms and Corporate Clients
  • The Corporate Counsel Chronicles
  • The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow: Retirement Planning, Pensions & Estate Planning for You and Your Firm
  • ZAPPED! The New and Complex World of E–Discovery
  • Historical Trial: Murder at Madison Square Garden: The High–Tech Trial of Millionaire Harry Thaw for Shooting Architect Stanford White

Saturday, August 9

  • ABA Military Dining–Out, 7:30 p.m., Gershwin Ballroom, 4th floor, Westin Times Square
  • GP|Solo Committee Meetings
  • Judicial Clerkships: Navigating the Federal Clerkship Hiring Guidelines and Developing Skills to Succeed on the Job
  • Advising the Small Business Client in Negotiating the Big Real Estate Transaction
  • Elder Law 2008—Expanding an Elder Law Practice

Sunday, August 10

  • The Solo and Small Firm Lawyers Caucus Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., Gershwin II Room, 4th floor, Westin Times Square

Monday, August 11

  • ABA’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law Reception 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Mercury Rotunda, 3rd Floor, Hilton New York

Be sure to check our website for the most recent information.

SIMPLIFY Your Practice, Your Profession, Your Life