GPSolo Magazine - March 2006
From the Editor
Welcome to the Best of ABA Sectionsissue of GPSolo magazine. Once again, we have collected outstanding articles from across the ABA to provide you with concise, informative articles to enhance your practice. These articles were written by devoted volunteers to the profession. We are thankful for the time and effort they have invested.
It is my experience that many of us who manage solo and small practices have a tendency to become over-engaged in a number of activities. As we all know, having a law practice and working for ourselves is rewarding and challenging. I have a small home-based estate planning practice. I am also the sole employee of this practice. I enjoy meeting and working with new clients and the challenge of creating unique estate plans for them. I am also the secretary, the IT person, receptionist, and financial manager (before the books get the final sign-off by my accountant). In addition to running my law practice, I am also the mother of a kindergarten student in half-day school, who has ballet on Monday nights and swim lessons twice a week, not to mention an incredibly busy social schedule. The life of a five-year-old is surprisingly complex.
Once one becomes more involved and engaged in life and practice, it is amazing how that compounds exponentially. I took a leadership program a few years ago and met a group of wonderful, dynamic people who, like many of the lawyers I know, care deeply about their communities, whether that community is cultural, religious, social, or political. My experience with this group led me to become more involved in policy discussions in Colorado. I eventually became the executive director of the organization and now, on top of finding time for my law practice and my daughter and husband, I organize day-long classes with multiple speakers on Colorado policy issues, in addition to scheduling evening topic-based “salons” and social events for the organization. It is fascinating and very enjoyable—and addictive because of all of the amazing people I meet. The juggling increases.
I know I am far from alone in trying to juggle my many commitments. I have a number of good friends who also have small law firms or solo practices. They, too, endeavor to practice law while at the same time running a business—which means dealing with networking issues, computer issues, and (for the small firms) partnership issues. As I did, many have added the challenges of juggling involvement in bar associations, chambers of commerce, and various boards around Colorado. The overcommitment level of almost everyone I know is increasing. The word no is one that many of us need to learn.
I am sure there is a way to juggle it all—practicing law, keeping active in bar associations and the community, and trying to be the best mom I can be to my inquisitive, brilliant, sassy, funny, five-year-old daughter. I am sure there are books that are written toward that end. Unfortunately, I lack the time to read them. I am sure many of you are capable of balancing your practice with your life. It is certainly an enjoyable challenge.
Getting back to this issue of the Best of ABA Sections, I sincerely thank and appreciate all of the authors across the ABA who found the time in their busy lives to research and draft these articles, as well as the Editorial Board members who found the time to help make this edition a great compilation of articles. I am so thankful they continue to say yes. Recently, the Editorial Board decided to begin introducing articles from ABA periodicals that have not previously appeared in the magazine. You will note that this issue includes for the first time an article from The SciTech Lawyer, a publication of the ABA Section of Science and Technology Law. Future issues will continue to introduce articles from periodicals new to Best of ABA Sections. I hope you will find them useful additions as you look for help with your own practice challenges. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.