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Solo by Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be Paperback – January 7, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0940675582 ISBN-10: 0940675587

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: LawyerAvenue Press (January 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940675587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940675582
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Solo By Choice is a much-needed manual. (It contains) so much information that it ought to be required reading, and everyone from seasoned veterans to law students will find something in this book they knew little or nothing about ... or were totally misguided about. Regardless the stage of your legal career, buy this book. It's filled with great information aggregated in one-easy-to-read collection." -- Susan Cartier Liebel, solo practice consultant

"There are a thousand decisions and considerations to make in starting your own practice, but with 'Solo By Choice' you will be so far ahead of the curve that your chances of success are increased exponentially. It is a how-to of extraordinary depth and detail. And if I wasn't already a solo, I would become one after reading this book; it's that thorough, balanced and persuasive. I think 'Solo by Choice' is destined to be the bible for going solo." -- Scott Greenfield, solo blogger/Court TV legal analyst

"When I graduated from law school, we had Foonberg's 'How to Start & Build a Law Practice'. But this new book seems to be the guide for a new age. It's a detailed and inspirational road map for anybody who wants to succeed in the solo practice of law, and there does not seem to be a detail or consideration not covered. It's a must-read." -- Chuck Newton, solo blogger

"Is there a need for another book on going solo? Yes, this one. Where it really shines is on the planning and practical aspects of opening a solo law practice, including location, jurisdiction, practice area, home office vs. commercial space, and more. It also goes into considerable detail about other critical issues such as how to leave your firm to go solo, when to give notice, how to negotiate severance pay, how to handle the clients; even a section on 'Who owns the blog?' Author Carolyn Elefant is less a cheerleader for solo'ing than a wise business coach who wants you to succeed but also knows you need the unvarnished truth before you strike out on your own. This practical, balance approach is a breath of fresh air, and I applaud her for having the courage to tell it like it is." -- Sheryl Schelin, solo practitioner

"Solo by Choice contains 300 pages packed with down-to-earth, well-organized advice on everything from making the decision to set up your own law firm, to deciding if and when to expand your solo practice. And there are appendices on everything from writing a business plan to creating a forms library. And the four chapters on marketing are some of the best prose I've read about the topic, even by trained marketers. "Solo's" author author tackles everything from alternative billing methods to finding good suppliers, all with common sense and good humor. I appreciated her refreshingly realistic attitude." -- Margaret McCaffery, law firm marketing consultant

If you're even vaguely familiar with the legal blogosphere, you know about Carolyn Elefant, a Washington DC solo who is widely regarded as a leading spokesperson for, and authority on, solos and small-firm lawyer issues. Solo by Choice is her first book, and it covers every aspect of sole practice, from making the gut-wrenching decision to hang your own shingle to meeting the financial and client-relations demands of a sole practice. There is not an ounce of fat in this book: it is lean, powerful, tightly written and economical. Carolyn tells you everything you need to know about life as a solo and not a word more, making it the rare text that is both comprehensive and readable: her blogging background is evident in the concise style. Solo by Choice is an outstanding guide to the practical realities of being a lawyer, absolutely essential for solo and small-firm lawyers and valuable for lawyers in mid-size or large firms too. Highly recommended. -- Jordan Furlong, Esq., editor Canadian Bar Assn magazine

Solo By Choice is a remarkable reference for two reasons. First, with all of the stress and complications of a solo practice, the book offers welcomed support. It says that going solo is an okay choice, and perhaps even a good choice. Second, it's a handbook that provides answers, reinforcing the things you know and providing a glimpse into some things you didn't know about practicing on your own and running a successful business. Carolyn Elefant's blog has been a resource to my solo business for years, and her book seems to be an apex to the great advice she's gathered during that time. Put Solo by Choice on that bookshelf in your new office ... it certainly won't collect dust. -- Scott Wolfe, Esq., law blogger

Solo by Choice contains 300 pages packed with down-to-earth, well-organized advice on everything from making the decision to set up your own law firm, to deciding if and when to expand your solo practice. And there are appendices on everything from writing a business plan to creating a forms library. And the four chapters on marketing are some of the best prose I've read about the topic, even by trained marketers. "Solo's" author author tackles everything from alternative billing methods to finding good suppliers, all with common sense and good humor. I appreciated her refreshingly realistic attitude. -- Margaret McCaffery, law firm consultant

There are a thousand decisions and considerations to make in starting your own practice, but with "Solo By Choice" you will be so far ahead of the curve that your chances of success are increased exponentially. It is a how-to of extraordinary depth and detail. And if I wasn't already a solo, I would become one after reading this book; it's that thorough, balanced and persuasive. I think "Solo by Choice" is destined to be the bible for going solo. -- Scott Greenfield, Esq., Court TV legal analyst

When I graduated from law school, we had Foonberg's "How to Start & Build a Law Practice". But "Solo By Choice" seems to be the guide for a new age. It's a detailed and inspirational road map for anybody who wants to succeed in the solo practice of law, and there does not seem to be a detail or consideration not covered. It's a must-read. -- Chuck Newton, Esq., solo blogger

" ... Solo by Choice is both practical and informative; a reliable guide whether you're considering opening up your own solo or small firm practice, or looking for ways to work smarter and more cost-effectively." --Trial Magazine

Review

"A remarkable reference. With all of the complications of a solo practice, this book offers welcomed support (and is) a handbook that reinforces the things you know, and provides a glimpse into things you didn't know about practicing on your own and running a successful business."

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Customer Reviews

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See all 17 customer reviews
I would recommend it to anyone contemplating going into solo practice.
V. Escobar
Her writing is straightforward and accessible and she provides resources throughout the book for more information on each of the topics she discusses.
Allison S
"The" book for attorneys starting a solo practice for a long time has been Jay Foonberg's "How to Start and Build a Law Practice."
David S. Markowitz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Allison S on March 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you've ever considered entering into solo practice, Carolyn Elefant's new book Solo By Choice is a must-read. But the book is so packed with practical advice about running a law office that I'd recommend it even if you're a seasoned practitioner or not currently considering going solo.

Solo By Choice presents a practical, pragmatic and realistic view of solo practice, including reasons to become a solo and a `reality check' on whether you're cut out for solo practice. The book contains step by step advice starting with what to do in your current position before opening your own firm or how to start a solo practice directly out of law school, including essential considerations such as malpractice insurance, choosing a name for your firm, and deciding whether (and where) to look for office space. But the advice doesn't stop there.

Most law schools don't teach the business issues that are essential for any solo (or law firm manager) to master. This book explores how to choose a jurisdiction and practice area, how to create a client-centric practice and how to determine which clients or matters to keep and which to refer to others. Elefant leaves no stone unturned, tackling difficult issues like dealing with `nightmare' clients, essentials of retainer agreements and billing and fees.

In today's climate, no book on solo practice would be complete with out discussions about staffing, outsourcing and creating reliable revenue streams, particularly when starting out as a solo. Elefant addresses them all and provides marketing ideas are straightforward and achievable by lawyers on any budget. For solos facing `growing pains,' the book discusses virtual law firms, affiliations, project partnering and networks.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David A. on March 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
Carolyn Elefant, the well-respected legal blogger, advocate for solo and small firm lawyers, quality energy regulatory and appellate lawyer, and experienced writer has combined all of her prodigious talents in this book that provides solo and small-firm lawyers with a highly practical guide to opening and managing a law practice. Comprehensive and based on real-world experiences, this book is different from other "how-to" manuals -- it's far more useful than others I've read. Published in 2008, it's up-to-date and incorporates present-day marketing and other concepts. The book examines everything from the initial decision to go solo to planning to the realities of practice to marketing, and also includes FAQs and resources, as well as profiles based on interviews of a number of solo and small firm lawyers, who tell of their experiences. Read this book before you make the jump into the solo life, and you'll have far fewer surprises, and be much more successful at it.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By BigLaw Assoc. on April 6, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought the book was decent, not great. It's a little heavy on fluff and light on hard facts -- like numbers. I also thought it repeated some advice over-and-over (e.g. speak with other solo attorneys about x,y or z). I thought the most helpful aspect of the book was the beginning where it went through a careful analysis of the considerations attorneys ought to make before endeavoring out on their own. I thought the next chapters, however, were weak and lacked substance. What I wanted to know where hard numbers -- or at least ranges. Malpractice insurance. Lexis/Westlaw rates. These types of things. I also thought it would be helpful to give more specific examples of salaries. I thought it was interesting that Carolyn when through the salary issue, but stating that a first year solo could expect a 25-80% reduction from what he/she makes now isn't that helpful. case studies from the individuals she quotes, with a little background on their respective practices, would've been more helpful. all-in-all not a bad purchase. $40 is a little much though for what appeared to be a collection of blog posts and/or ABA Journal articles.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Debra L. Bruce on June 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whether you are a laid-off lawyer, a recent law school grad discouraged about finding a job in a recession, or a seasoned solo practitioner, you will benefit from reading Solo by Choice by Carolyn Elefant. The book aims at a reader who is opening a new law practice. It answers questions like: Do I really need expensive office space? Will a home office or executive suite work? If I'm changing practice areas or just out of school, how can I get the experience I need? How will I get my first clients? Should I have a blog?

Even experienced practitioners will learn new tricks, however, by reading her tips on meshing traditional practice methods with today's technology without blowing your budget. She'll get you to rethink what you need to do to streamline work flow, market your practice, and outsource temporary work overload. You can also read many examples of what other lawyers say about the methods that worked for them.

Solo by Choice offers a lot more than can be captured within its pages. It has links to additional useful articles, resources, checklists and forms on almost every topic Elefant addresses. Even more important: when you finish this book you'll feel proud to be a solo.

I'm a lawyer-coach who practiced law 18 years and I've coached over 400 attorneys. I'm recommending this book to many of my solo and small firm clients.
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