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Posts Tagged ‘Small and solo firms’

I keep hearing about how many law students are worried about jobs, careers, etc. The only reason most students are worrying about the economy this, and the profession that, comes from a belief that they need a job when they graduate.

Maybe because they think they need the job to get experience. Maybe they need to pay student loans. Maybe they imagine it’s the only way to make money as a lawyer, or maybe they are terrified of having to venture out and find clients.  Maybe they like the  prestige of a big firm job or corporate position.  Adding to this uncertainty, the game has become so competitive for big firm jobs, they have to really blow everyone away. You need a 4.0, you need to be the Moot Court Master of the Universe; you need 3 law review articles, and you need to bring your uncle’s billionaire friend as a client with you, just to get an interview! Some will make it and most won’t.

For the rest, it’s a new and exciting game and you don’t have to worry or work for anyone. You can do what you like.

Today, it has never been easier to own your own space as a solo or small firm, to collaborate on a global scale and to serve more clients than you need.  It has never been easier to build your dream job.  Instead of worrying, work hard at doing what you like, and   realize that you can practice law and still laugh, make friends, care for your peers, and let them care about you. You can be yourself, be authentic, and be as unstoppable as only you can be when occupy your space!

And you don’t have to do it by yourself.  You can learn and get experience by working with other more experienced lawyers virtually.  That’s one of the reasons why I’m building The Online Bar Association. You can live anywhere and join Timothy Ferris’ new rich. Today, you can be a successful lawyer from anywhere in the world.  The most important factors are loving what you do, being good at it and having friends that you trust and care about your success, that  care about YOU!

I’m not saying you don’t have to work. You will probably work harder at first.  But in the new legal world, where content is free and abundant,  it’s increasingly more about who wants to play with you, than what you know.

Are you ready to play and work hard?

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I recently discovered the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law School.  They just wrapped up their annual conference titled: Law Firm Evolution: Brave New World or Business As Usual?

Notice how we all now increasingly use questions as titles. In all fairness, the more I read and attend conferences, the more I realize that no one knows what is really going on. Much like the scene of an accident or mob riot, we all know something is going on because of all the activity, but no one person has a clear idea of exactly what’s going on in our profession.

The conference website generously provides the conference papers to download for free.  I’m hoping we can send an OBA delegation next year to demonstrate the evolution in SSFs and VLOs cooperating on a global scale!  Anyone interested?

Eversheds presented a paper titled: Law firm of the 21st Century: The Client’s Revolution. (By Bryan Hughes, Chief Executive of Eversheds LLP)

I’m including an excerpt from their conclusion:

“….overall lawyers will actually be more significant business players in the new world. The increasing role of regulation, ethics and the re-examination of risk are heartland areas for the lawyer, ensuring that even as the transaction ‘go-go’ days wane, they still have an important role to play. What they might not see any more are super-high fees and, at the premium end of the profession, headcount may shrink for the next generation.

For Western law firms, the shift to the East is well underway both as a move to follow a global economic trend but also as the drive to efficiency dictates that low-cost jurisdictions are a key component of cost base reductions(italics added).”

In 2008, when the recession hit, I was contacted by recruiters for a position in Singapore with ESPN as media counsel.  I was quite perplexed that they would even interview me all the way from the USA.  The recruiter told me that already very well paid lawyers from Titanic-sized US firms and wall street, and some British firms, were jumping on the available lifeboats and heading East to Asia and the Middle East.

I imagined how different our profession would be as we become net exporters of highly educated and experienced lawyers. How would this minor exodus affect those countries?  We won’t know exactly for another 5 -10 years.  Part of what excites me is the global scale of the opportunities available to us in the next 5 years.

Big Law is going to go through a consolidation for a few more years.  It will be even bigger law as capital investments move into the market at the top. Decentralization in all professions will benefit Small and Solo firms (SSFs) willing to organize into vast networks of mutual support made up of reputable talent from around the world (OBA). If SSFs don’t organize themselves into competitive and trusted enterprise networks, they can still work in niche areas they own, or as labor for the new capital infused and publicly traded firms.

Wait?!  Will we see  lawyer unions next?

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