April 2012 | Survival Guide for Young Lawyers: Making Lemonade
50 Web Resources for the Suddenly Solo Lawyer
(Because of the popularity of this extremely informative article and its continued relevance to lawyers starting a solo practice by choice or necessity, we are re-running this 2009 article that has been updated by its authors to insure current information.)
So you’re suddenly solo. Do you look for a new job immediately, consider starting a new solo or small firm law practice, take on some legal work from acquaintances in the meantime or make an entire new master plan for your life and career? Only you can answer these questions for yourself. But we think spending a day or more reading and reviewing these free online resources will give you a lot of inspiration and ideas. (If you count, you may even find more than 50 links in this article – we’re lawyers, not accountants!)
Great Articles to Read
Weather the Storm, by Gerry Riskin and Robert Millard
What Should You Do Now? A Roundtable Discussion on Law Practice in a Time of Great Economic Turmoil Moderated and Edited By Dennis Kennedy
Going Solo on a Budget by Dennis Kennedy
Teaming Up, Starting Anew by Dennis Kennedy
Law Office Start-up: Law Office on a Shoestring, by Sheila Blackford
Weather the Storm: Law Firm Risk Management in Hard Times, by Mark J.Fucile
Managing Anxiety in Uncertain Times
Choices: Law Firm Billing and Accounting Software, by Dee Crocker
Practicing Law in Tough Economic Times By Jim Calloway
More Thoughts on Practicing Law in Tough Economic Times By Jim Calloway
In a Tough Economy, the Importance of Effective Client Screening By Deborah E. Gillis
LawPRO Magazine Surviving the Slide: Dealing with the Tough Economy (Winter 2008/2009)
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (Massachusetts), Spring 2009 newsletter Theme issue on Responding to Trying Times
Robert Ambrogi’s Law Sites keeps lawyers up to date on websites for lawyers.
David Bilinsky’s Thoughtful Legal Management discusses law firm finance, profitability and the use of technology in law practice.
JD Bliss helps lawyers balance work and life.
Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips blog talks about practice management, the Internet and technology.
Look to Counsel to Counsel for all things related to legal careers.
Ellen Freedman’s Law Practice Management blog helps lawyers manage the business side of their practice.
Don’t miss "What About Clients?" 12 Rules of Client Service.
Tom Kane’s Legal Marketing Blog is dedicated to lawyer marketing in any size firm.
Dennis Kennedy’s Dennis Kennedy.com focuses mostly on legal technology.
Erik Mazzone’s Law Practice Matters Blog shows lawyers how to practice smart.
Tom Mighell’s Inter-Alia blog is among other things, an internet legal research weblog.
Home office lawyering is the focus at Chuck Newton's Rides the Third Wave.
Another blog focusing on the home office phenomenon include: Home Office Warrior.
Ed Poll’s Law Biz Blog is a practical guide for lawyers.
Gerry Riskin’s Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices covers legal practices from all angles.
Small Firm Innovation is a blog emphasizing practical solutions for solo and small firm lawyers written by various contributors that bills itself as “a resource by, for and about solo and small-firm lawyers.”
Guides, Checklists and Other Sets of Resources
Carolyn Elefant’s MyShingle blog has long been recognized as a premiere resource for solo and small firm lawyers. See her resources and information for solos (includes forms and checklists for solos or those starting a law practice) and her online guide to starting a law practice.
Economic Resource Guide (Maryland State Bar Association)
Starting Your Own Practice (Florida Bar)
Starting a Law Practice Web Directory (Oklahoma Bar Association)
Checklist for Starting a Law Practice (Missouri Bar)
Eight great downloadable booklets on managing your law practice. Your attention is directed to #6 “Managing the finances of your practice” where their sample law firm budget (in PDF or Excel) is their most popular download. Unlock Your Potential: Hanging Out Your Shingle: A 79 page e-book in PDF format from the ABA Young Lawyer’s Division on setting up a law practice.
Legal Discussion Groups
Solosez – An ABA listserv for solo and small firm lawyers
Solomarketing – formed as a splinter group from Solosez, Solomarketing discusses all aspects of marketing for your law practice. For information, go to Solomarketing and search for Sololawyermarketing.
Lawtech – Informal e-mail discussion list focused on legal technology. Get tech help and find out about the latest technology trends.
(There are also many legal discussion groups on LinkedIn and other social networking sites)
Resources from the American Bar Association
ABA Law Practice Management Section Website provides news, tips, great CLE programs and more.
Law Practice Magazine.
Law Practice Today (If you got to this feature by a link from a friend or search, don’t forget to subscribe to this free monthly webzine while you are here.)
Then look through all of the other issues, online and free to non-members.
ABA Legal Technology Resource Center a collection of technology resources and information
Current articles (Articles are free but access to certain archives require ABA membership)
Site-tation: Law Technology Resource Center's blog
Whether you’re suddenly solo by choice or by design, there are a wealth of sites and resources available to help you plan your new practice and get it off the ground. Although this list is by no means exhaustive, we hope that it will help you get started.
Jim Calloway is the Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association Management Assistance Program. He publishes the blog Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips and was the co-author of the book Winning Alternatives to the Billable Hour (2nd ed.) (2002 ABA.) He was chair of ABA TECHSHOW 2005. He is a member of the Council of the ABA's Law Practice Management Section and chair of its Practice Management Advisors Committee. He is co-chair of the 2007 GP/SOLO National Solo and Small Firm Conference. He has been named a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. He writes Law Practice Tips column for the Oklahoma Bar Journal. The archives of that column are available online here.
Allison C. Shields, Esq., President of Legal Ease Consulting, Inc. is a former practicing attorney and law firm manager who helps lawyers create more productive, profitable and enjoyable law practices. Visit her blog at www.LegalEaseConsulting.com or her website at www.LawyerMeltdown.com.