GPSolo Magazine - September 2005

Gaining Perspective

Welcome to the Best of ABA Sectionsissue of GPSolo. Once again, we have collected outstanding articles from across the ABA to provide you with concise, informative articles that we hope will enhance your practice. These articles were written by devoted volunteers to the profession. We are thankful for the time and effort that these authors have provided.

I have been struggling for a topic for this editorial for a few weeks. I’ve talked to colleagues and friends without any success in coming up with a topic. Desperate, I turned to my five-year-old daughter. “Emily, I have to write a column and I don’t know what to write it on.” She thought long and hard, bit her lower lip, looked up toward her eyebrows, put her finger to her lips, and tapped. After about 20 seconds she said, “How about paper.” Kind of puts things in perspective.

Recently, my daughter witnessed an older man yelling at his wife of many decades. Apparently, he was screaming obscenities at the woman. It is my hope that my daughter will never be in a relationship, professional or personal, so lacking in basic respect. I am sure many of us have had experiences as younger attorneys, or maybe even now, where opposing counsel has been less than honest about the facts or has used bullying tactics such as making threats and screaming on the phone. Bar associations nationwide are training new attorneys to be professional and courteous. It is essential that all attorneys—new and old—think about civility and professionalism. It is my sincerest hope that attorneys can find ways to work with each other and accomplish good results for clients without delving into arguments and empty threats. As you toil away at whatever aspect of the law takes up your day, it’s important that you lift your head from time to time and make sure that your actions are helping create the type of professional environment in which you actually want to be practicing.

I also hope that we all took some time out for ourselves this long, hot summer, away from our professional responsibilities, to read a good book, head to the hills for a long, cool walk in the Aspen groves listening to the wind play in their leaves, or go to the beach or pool with our friends, children, and family. It’s not too late—take the time to slow down a little and meet up with friends for a great dinner or enjoy a concert in the park.

And as we move into September, and once again approach election season, I hope that we remember to look around in our communities and see where we can make a difference. I encourage you to pick a topic that interests you—be it ballot initiatives or races at the local or state level—and get involved. It is very empowering to engage in the process, to work with your neighbors and people in your community, and to actually take a stand on issues.

Thanks again to all the authors across the ABA who participated in making this edition of Best of ABA Sections a great compilation of articles. I hope they will be of benefit to you, the solo, small firm, or general practitioner. I encourage you to get involved in your legal community through writing, volunteering, and mentoring in your bar associations as these authors have done. Happy reading.

Laura B. Embleton maintains a solo law practice in the Denver area, where she specializes in estate planning. She can be reached at



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