Sunday, April 08, 2007

Flying Solo

I have been wanting to buy Flying Solo: A Survival Guide for Solos and Small Firm Lawyers for a while now. I am now about 10 months into opening my own law firm, but was hesitant to buy the book as it retails for about $100.00. But, I splurged on it last week while surfing Amazon.com. What a disappointment!!!

I bought the book because it had the best Amazon.com comments and had the most stars. But in order to benefit from this book, you would have to be absolutely GREEN in every way in order to feel as though you had gotten your money's worth.

Only one chapter was worth anything, in my opinion - a short snippet taken from some other source and reprinted in this book that provided tips on how to conduct yourself to ensure that you retain clients. The rest was pretty much junk.

I can't believe that this book is in its 4th edition. I mean, I don't need a tutorial on what word processor I might like to purchase, or how to use email. I should give some credit - there were some snippets in various places in the book that might help me to better manage my time, with email, telephones and client interview scheduling.

This book was too "big picture" in places, and too "details oriented" in the wrong places. It was far too generic in terms of making decisions about your solo career, and too specific at times, which I found to be rather insulting. I have been through law school, undergraduate studies, and high school. I started using the Internet heavily in 1995. My generation just doesn't need these types of tutorials. Perhaps this book would be good for someone in their 40's or 50's thinking about making the jump and hanging their own shingle. For me, it was $ misspent.

But, sometimes these experiences are catalysts of sorts. Since reading this book, I have decided to author my own book about starting up a solo law practice or small law firm. Nothing like learning through experience. That's how I wrote my book, So, You Want to be a Lawyer, Eh?: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Prospective and Current Canadian Law Students and it has been much more successful than I ever anticipated.

Here are some things that I plan to include, which were sorely missing from Flying Solo:

1. What is it really going to cost?
2. Can I do this right out of law school/articling?
3. What mentoring is available?
4. What resources are available from my bar association?
5. What are the advantages/disadvantages of starting up with someone else?
6. How should I structure a partnership agreement?
7. What are the advantages of a partnership vs. an associateship?
8. Grassroots marketing vs. traditional marketing methods

I will add more items to this list, as they come to mind.

Coming soon to a bookstore near you (OK, give me 6-9 months):

MY SHINGLE: The solo and small practice lawyer's bible

If you have ideas for the list above or the pending title, let me know.

One thing I might suggest: If you have any inclination towards becoming a solo lawyer or starting your own firm, start reading up on it as far in advance as possible. You will avoid some potentially serious pitfalls. Not that I have had any real problems, but I know I could stand to learn more to make my experience even more successful.

1 comment:

Steve Smith said...

Try Jay Foonberg's book "How to Start and Build a Law Practice" It was my bible. Very deatiled and well regarded by American solos.