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Andrew

Biglaw serves the higher end of the market, and unless you're a real niche lawyer, brings in the largest pay. Their higher overhead on positing themselves (as sponsors of organizations, conferences, etc) help them get the cases and clients that will pay top dollar. Technology was supposed to equalize the playing field -- so a solo can be found more easily on the web then can a much larger law firm -- but technology also has hit the lower end of the market. The lower end of the market is hit by an increasing amount of available information (of dubious accuracy) and a race to the bottom as far as fees (you can bid your legal question for a few dollars). As much as we all serve a wide spectrum of the market (biglaw does too, they just don't publicize it), seems that we all need to aim for the top work. That doesn't mean the highest-paying clients, but the highest caliber work that can be done by one lawyer. The best comeback is when they realize your practice is as interesting, if not more than theirs. Not only is our practice area as interesting, but hopefully we've earned our way to be there independently of the trappings of biglaw. That gives us more security knowing that we don't need biglaw.

fbc

Charles -

Don't sweat the snobs. They envy your freedom. (In fact, I'm thinking right now of that cry from the movie Braveheart: "FRREEEEEE-DOM!")

And as an insider, I can tell you that BigLaw may be big, but you're absolutely right that that doesn't necessarily imply that it's good.

Because it's not. I've seen too much.

Larry

A classic case of people minding other people's business. You have something that works for you and seems to work for others too. I agree that the ability to practice law is individual, not dependent on an office, staff, etc.

I can see some of the benefits/drawbacks of both ways of practicing, but they have nothing to do with being a good lawyer.

Carolyn Elefant

Chuck,
Your post resonated with me (also brought back bad memories from my early days of practice) and inspired me to write this -

http://www.myshingle.com/2009/11/articles/biglaw-practice-and-issues/the-page-between-biglaw-and-solo-practice-between-life-and-death/

Though I do agree that we ought to ignore the law snobs, I can't write them off entirely. We represent a whole way of life unknown to them and for those willing to cross the great divide, my door is always open to talk in fealty to those lawyers who helped me out when I got my start.

JDF

You could be in charge of the largest practice, making the most money, but if your client's cannot relate to you, you are more poor than the poorest "first day out" solo. The reason is because the the law is bigger than you, but somewhere along the way, you forgot that and thought that you were bigger than the law. That kind of thinking will always bite you in the rear, it is just a matter of timing.

Disability Insurance

I agree with you to a certain extent. I would say to be outright rude to others, because you may need there help or professional opinion in the future and you don't want to burn your bridges. However, if these fellow attorneys aren't benefiting you or are bad-mouthing you, then you may as well ignore them and not let them affect your business.

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