About SoloSez and How to Manage It
What is SoloSez?
SoloSez (pronounced 'so-low-says') is an electronic mail discussion list that has matured into a worldwide community of more than 3,500 solo and small firm practitioners. SoloSez is an on-line resource for lawyers to share and obtain information on a wide range of personal and professional subjects: legal questions, client referrals, topical issues, practice technology problems and solutions, travel information, jokes, or just to gloat about a court victory or vent about a local judge. Hosted by the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, this Internet tool is changing the way many solos practice law.
The knowledge and resources of the SoloSez community are amazing. There are lawyers from almost every U.S. jurisdiction, Canada, Great Britain--even American lawyers practicing in Mexico, Korea, Germany, Israel, and Japan. Lawyers with experience in virtually every practice niche known to man! Techie lawyers, big city lawyers, country lawyers, new lawyers, senior lawyers, fat lawyers, skinny lawyers, even lawyers who climb on rocks. But most important: this on-line community has solo and small firm lawyers who are willing to generously share their thoughts and expertise with their colleagues. And sometimes without anyone asking! :-)
How it works
Once you subscribe for free, you'll begin receiving email messages from other subscribers, who are also lawyers in solo or small firm practice. When a subscriber to SoloSez sends an e-mail message to the list (solosez@Mail.americanbar.org), the computer at the ABA receives it and immediately and automatically resends the message to every subscriber on the list. On a recent day, there were discussions of on-line postage services, on-line fax services, adding or upgrading software, whether to incorporate as a PC or LLC, a few good jokes, several client referrals, and half a dozen other topics.
Individual participants suggest topics for discussion, known as "starting a thread," by sending an e-mail message to the list. Group members then join in the conversation by offering their comments. You can opt to have everything "posted" to the list go into your e-mail box to be read at your leisure (the regular list) or you can receive a "digest version," which compiles multiple messages into one.
Many SoloSez members, especially newer ones, often choose just to read the email discussions and not publicly participate. (This is called "lurking".) Some SoloSezzers never participate publicly, choosing to respond to another SoloSez member with private e-mail. (Sometimes a confidential whisper is better than shouting down the hallway!) Others are more active in requesting and sharing information.
In fact, there is only one rule on participation: Before posting your first substantive message to the group, you must send a message introducing yourself to the group. You must disclose your favorite drink and the names of any pets living in your home or office!
Managing SoloSez Messages
On any given day there can be 80 or more messages posted by the group. Some messages will be worthwhile, others will be priceless nuggets. Still others will be useless, so e-mail management is a must. Now, don't complain your email is already unmanageable. It just takes a bit of practice. Do you read the WHOLE morning newspaper? Nope, because you’ve learned to scan to find what you want, read what you think is helpful, and ignore the rest. The same can be said for SoloSez or any other email you receive. Here are some tips when subscribing to SoloSez.
- Use a thread-based email program (e.g. Gmail). This is not an endorsement of any particular email client by the ABA, but many users have reported it being much easier to manage the high volume of email through a thread-based email client with a large volume of storage.
- Create a SoloSez folder on your e-mail program and set your e-mail filter to send all messages from SoloSez to this folder. (The subject line of all SoloSez messages must contain [SOLOSEZ] to allow for ease of filtering.) This will allow you to review and delete or respond to messages when you’re ready, without cluttering your main mail folder. For more information on how effectively handle your growing e-mail messages, see the Article written by SoloSezzer Extraordinaire, jennifer j. rose.
- Use your delete key liberally. If the subject line has no interest to you, get rid of the message. (Just like ignoring a headline or article in a newspaper.)
- When a discussion thread (a series of messages discussing a single topic) interests you, read it or transfer the messages to another subfolder titled "Saved from SoloSez" to review at a later time. For example, let's say you are thinking of buying an all-in-one scanner/printer/copier, and another SoloSezzer asks that question on-line. Take that message and the responsive messages and put them in this folder. Then, when you need the information, you can review it to help you make your decisions. (You could even send a follow-up private email to the respondents to see if they have any other information.)
- Feel free to participate anytime. There are NO dumb questions. In fact, no questions are too trivial for this group!
- Many good previous discussions on popular topics have been archived for immediate use. Please look at our Popular Threads page and our Archives.
- Read the Administrivia!
To view the SoloSez archives:
- Go to http://mail.abanet.org/archives/solosez.html.
- If you are not already logged in to LISTSERV, it will say "Login Required" under the archives. Click here.
- If you remember your LISTSERV password, simply log in with your subscribed email address and skip to step 9.
- Maybe you don't have a LISTSERV password or you've forgotten it. Don't worry! Simply click "get a new LISTSERV password."
- Enter the email address you use to subscribe to SoloSez.
- Enter a password for logging into LISTSERV, and then enter it again in the next field.
NOTE This password can be anything you like, it has no relation to any other passwords you have for your email or with the ABA. This password is only meant to let you access your LISTSERV subscription preferences and the archives of any lists to which you are subscribed. You will always be able to simply get a new password should you forget this one.
- LISTSERV confirms that you in fact own that email address by sending a confirmation email. Check your email and click on the enclosed link to confirm.
- Now you can return to http://mail.abanet.org/archives/solosez.html and click "Login Required" to enter your subscribed email address and the password you just created.
- Congratulations! Now you can see a chronological list of the SoloSez archives. You also have the option to "Search Archives" from this page.
- If you were hoping to change your SoloSez preferences, then click "Join or Leave SOLOSEZ." Your subscription preferences should appear. Here you can customize your subscription, such as setting an email address to stop receiving SoloSez postings altogether, or to receive a daily digest email instead of receiving every posting when it is sent. For instance, if you wished to set this particular email address to "NOMAIL," so that it could still send to the list but would not receive any postings, you could simply tick the box next to "Mail delivery disabled temporarily" and then click the "Update Options" button.
- If you wish to add an email address for sending to SoloSez, simply visit SoloSez.net and subscribe the new email address in the box on the right. Then repeat the above instructions, logging in with this new email address.
- If you have more specific questions, you can always click on the "?" in the upper-right corner of the LISTSERV screen to get more information about the page you are visiting.
You can change your list settings to stop emails or receive the digest, and more. For instance, if you wish to send emails from multiple accounts, but only want to receive emails at one account, you can set those alternate email addresses not to receive any SoloSez emails. To do so requires the same login procedure as viewing the archives (see above). Change your settings.
Help! I Forgot My Password!
Don't worry, you can simply get a new one following the instructions above. As long as you use the email address that is subscribed to SoloSez, you can simply get a new password and then login to view/change your listserve options or read the archives.