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Is 2018 Your Year to Go Solo?

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

In the Chinese Zodiac, 2018 is the year of the dog. So what better time to go solo?

Seriously, if you have been thinking about the solo route, why wait for some cosmic event? It's about going for it.

If you need more reasons, here are some thoughts from solo attorneys who did it their way. By the way, there are a lot of these lawyer stories because 62 percent of the lawyers in America work as solo practitioners or in small firms.

Choosing Solo

The common denominator is that all solos made the choice to go it alone. Some may say they didn't have a choice because they were laid off or couldn't find a firm job. But that's dodging the truth that they chose to persist.

It takes real effort to make it as a solo or small firm practitioner because hanging a shingle is not as easy as it looks. Carolyn Elefant knows what it takes as well as anyone.

Elefant, of MyShingle fame, writes about "inspiring, celebrating and empowering solo and small law firms." She says you have to go out and get it.

"Optimistic personalities tend to fare better," she says. "If you are committed to practicing law, I think you will find ways to make your own firm happen."

Dogged Determination

Deborah Cohen, writing for the ABA Journal, said there is no magic formula for building a successful solo practice. "It takes planning, persistence, long hours, sweat equity and personal sacrifice," she wrote.

Dina Eisenberg, who started a consulting practice, advises lawyers how to do solo and small firms. "Lawyers need to learn how to ask for help and do it more," she says.

While you think about that, here's a personal story from my small firm days. We took on a pro bono client who was being evicted because she owned pit bulls. It made the news, and that helped us win all around!

You can do it, too, and you still have time. Chinese New Year is Feb. 16.

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