The Dog Days of Summer

By Kimberly Anderson

The “dog days of summer” occur during the hottest and muggiest part of the year, usually from early July through early September. “Dog days” is also known as a period of stagnation or inactivity. With the economy as it is, this might not be the best time to become inactive. But fear not—the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division has programs and services to keep you moving with minimal effort.

These summer days may be just the time for you to catch up on your CLE. The ABA Connection program has a webcast archive available on a complimentary basis to ABA members via CLE Now! (; ABA members pay a $9.75 line charge to participate in live ABA Connection teleconferences). The ABA-CLE monthly podcast series ( features the nation’s leading legal experts in audio or video downloads in MP3 and MP4 format or on preloaded iPods. You also may access online CLE programs 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the convenience of your home or office computer through WestLegalEdCenter (; remember, GP|Solo Division members receive a special discount on all their GP|Solo online CLE.

Perhaps the economy is distracting you from your practice and from enjoying these lazy days of summer. Find the latest information from the ABA on how to get through the downturn. Our Economic Recovery Resources portal ( contains resources and tips on a variety of topics from practice management to professional development, job searching, and more.

You may want to mix some business with pleasure by attending the Division’s activities at the ABA Annual Meeting from July 30 through August 2 at the Swissôtel Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. You can bring some Zen to your practice with the two-part series for Solo Day, “The How and Tao of Legal Entrepreneurship.” This two-track program will focus on “hard” and “soft” skills and issues affecting law firm formation and growth. Part one, “How,” will focus on fundamental business start-up issues and skills such as preparing business plans for the firm’s use or for lenders, principles of budgeting, cash flow projections, and other financial aspects necessary for planning and growth. Part two, “Tao,” will focus on the law firm as an entrepreneurial enterprise and will include discussions on entrepreneurship, leadership, core firm and personal values, and their importance in ensuring growth for the firm. You don’t want to miss the historical trial, “The Insanity Trial of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln,” which documents that only ten years after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, a Chicago court found his widow insane and committed her to a mental institution. Was she really insane or did her son, attorney Robert Todd Lincoln, conspire against her? Join forensic expert Professor James Starrs, psychologist Dr. Darlene Shelton, trial consultant David Weinberg, and trial lawyers Carlin Phillips and Shain Khoshbin as they retry this historic case before the Honorable George Leighton using modern technology and forensic science.

The Division has been keeping itself busy during these dog days, too. First, there have been some changes to the officer ladder. jennifer j. rose resigned as Vice Chair and Joseph A. DeWoskin was named her successor. Additionally, the 2009-2010 Diversity Fellows and Young Lawyer Fellows were confirmed. The Diversity Fellows are Chauntis T. Jenkins of New Orleans, Louisiana; Ignacio Pinto-Leon of Houston, Texas; Ireneo A. Reus III of Long Beach, California; and Daniel J. Tann of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Young Lawyer Fellows are Doris L. Gruntmeir of Muskogee, Oklahoma, and Sarah Sharp Theophilus of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Finally, it’s time to start planning for your time after these dog days end. Mark your calendar now for the National Solo & Small Firm Conference, which will take place in conjunction with the American Bar Association General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division’s Fall Meeting in Los Angeles, California. It’s a growing trend for small firm lawyers to gather to network with other like-minded lawyers, get information on technology products appropriate to their size of practice, hear well-known speakers, and generally just have a good time. This year the National Solo & Small Firm Conference will host more than 20 CLE sessions, four plenary sessions, and a pre-conference marketing workshop. New to the program is the Young Lawyers Institute, offering six CLE programs for law students and new lawyers. These educational offerings at the conference will feature presentations from a mix of nationally known legal experts, veteran members of the GP|Solo Division with advice to share, active participants in the SoloSez online community, practice management advisors, and other solo and small firm lawyers just like you.

Now is the time to keep motivated and moving! Don’t let the dog days of summer slow you down. For more information about GP|Solo, please visit

Kimberly Anderson is staff director of the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division; she may be reached at 312/988-5636 or

Copyright 2009

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