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A solo lawyer’s guide to getting things done

Sometimes I long for the days when I could walk into work, focus 95 percent of my energy on casework, and have few other job-related worries. That longing hits me fleetingly, once every month or so. Being a solo is the Best. Thing. Ever. The solo lifestyle is much different that the associate’s lifestyle. (I was the associate for eight years and I’m well into my first year as the solo.) As the associate, I tried to take on as many other responsibilities as I could — administrative duties, supervisory roles, technological tasks, and anything else that could help the firm out. At the end of the day, though, my primary job was moving the cases along: new case intakes, review medical records, file complaints, meet with experts, propound and respond to discovery, prepare for trial. A solo’s primary job is, well, everything. I now appreciate all of those commercials for small business owners. One of my favorites is the Staples commercial with Dave and his schizophrenic-army of clone-employees: Sometimes it is easy as a solo to know what you should be doing. That first day that you open your doors, and you have no cases, you easily know what your most important task is — business generation. Truth be told, the answer is just as easy on day 242 — business generation. Even if you have been successful and you have a whole host of cases, those cases will probably dry up. For those of us in the personal injury line of work, the lifespan of a case on the short side ranges from five months to 18 months. Even if you can pay the bills now, there is no guarantee about what’s going to happen in six to 19 months. So you need to bring in new cases.

2 comments

  1. Congrats on going solo; you are approaching things in a well thought and organized manner and I am sure you will be very successful. (Even older solos like me (10 years as a solo) can enjoy the tips listed). Keep at it.

  2. Great suggestions for time management!

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