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Susan Cartier Liebel

Brava, Chuck. It's not an unfamiliar refrain but one which needs to be sung periodically to those who still try to plug their ears!!

NC Injury Lawyer


Excellent post. I definitely do not regret going solo. In fact, "humbly" speaking, I believe that I am further along than my colleagues who landed firm jobs. A handful of them have not been retained by the firm after their initial 2nd or 3rd year.

Other solo attorneys have been extremely helpful in the process, and as you stated, you can start your own practice with minimum start-up costs. My big break came when I found an experienced solo attorney who needed an "of counsel" lawyer to handle some of his case overflow. Of course we split the fees, but my work with him resulted in clients referring me to their friends, family, and co-workers.

Miriam Robeson

Young lawyers might need to look farther than their resident big city to find a location for their solo practice. I am a solo in a rural county with fewer than 20 attorneys in the county (including judges). I have as much work as I can handle. Over the past 10 years, 3 attorneys have died and one has retired (not unexpected in a bar association with an average age of over 60). Three new attorneys have ventured into our community to try their hands at solo practice, and I cheerfully refer as much work to them as possible. Two of the three have been rotated on to part-time government counsel positions, which should provide a few dollars of steady income while they build their practice. One is running for County Prosecutor this term. Another is picking up a good bit of court-appointed defense work.

The point is, there may be far greater opportunities in a small community (particularly with an older bar association) than in an urban setting.

Small communities have much to offer, despite the perceived lack of "big-city" amenities. Our local bar association is very welcoming to new faces. I've had coffee chats with the new attorneys over everything from how to navigate the courthouse to which cell phone provider is the best, and I'm glad to share.


Comment number one to Rule 1:1 of the rules of professional conduct, as adopted by many states, imposes a significant restriction on a new laywer who might accet a matter. Specifically, before a new law may take a case, that lawyer must determine "whether it is feasible to refer the matter to, or associate or consult with, a lawyer of established competence in the field in question."

My reading of thise is that a new lawyer must refer out cases if he or she can find an older attorney who will take the case or that new lawyer must be an associate under an experience attorney. A new lawyer who is not an associate under an experience lawyer may not take a case if there are other experienced lawyers who could conceviably take on the case.

The trick is that it makes no sense for an experience attorney to take on an associate in this economic environment if young lawyers are obligated to refer their potential matters to that experience lawyer anyway. Therefore, some of us who have not been accpted as an associate under an experience lawyer do not start practices because of this obligation to refer any new matters out if there are other experienced lawyer admitted to practice in the jurisdiction.

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