All Attorneys are Solo Attorneys

(Okay so in looking back on it this post is a bit of a angry rant, but what’s the fun of having a blog if you can’t have a good rant now and again :-) I will try not to indulge myself too often)

If you think you are not solo because you are in a firm guess again. The difference between you and your shingle hanging brothers and sisters is you get a paycheck and they get profits. Present day law firms are little more then hotels for legal services providers. The clients are no longer loyal to the letter head, the lawyers are no longer loyal to the firm and the Partners are no longer loyal to the firm or the employees (note: Associates this means you). Depending on your perspective you can say one side or the other is to blame but that’s just a chicken and the egg discussion. Bottom line, this is where the industry is today. Only 15% of the partner track attorneys ever make it to a tier one partnership. So where does that put the other 85%... you got it … solo. You are solo for hire or solo for a paycheck.

For the 15% who get into a partnership there is also a “solo” wake up call. Your “points” are earned by what you contribute to the bottom line. If you don’t bring in business you don’t get a seat at the table for long. And the word “partner” has a new definition grounded in inequality not equality. Politics is dressed up for public consumption but if think you are going to be protected by your “partners” when your lean times come check out the names of “past” partners… bet you will notice they did not all “retire”.

Written By: Jonathan On January 3, 2016 02:51 PM

Jack -

First,where do you get your statistics about attorneys on a partnership track? It just doesn't make any sense to the firm's bottom line.

Second, there is loyalty and there dang well better be. Sure, it is not like the loyalty you used to see from corporate America. But, the firm is loyal to the client and the associates better have some loyalty to the firm. I posted about loyalty a bit earlier.

You really should brighten your view of the legal profession. We are good people trying to make a difference.

Written By: Jack Casey On January 3, 2016 05:47 PM

Jonathan,

We are good people… and I expect that my blog has focused a little hard on the bad and not the good but that is where the muse took me in these past weeks. It is not out of disrespect but more out of a frustration that I don’t see much movement towards discussing the hard questions. And too much acceptance of the “reality” of practicing law.

I have hit a nerve somewhere that I would love to explore without the need to protect what clearly you don’t need to protect. The status quo is in no jeopardy from one voice in a blog. Perhaps I am not focused enough to round out my posting. I was worried about writing a long post. I will rethink the posts to more fully round out the topics tackled.

I am no stranger to partnership meetings both the scheduled ones and the ones that only some partners are told about. These often take place in the back dining rooms of nice restaurants. The agenda for which is the future of the “core” firm verse the firm as a whole. They usually are followed by the next day leak and the “closed door” meeting with the “key associates”.

Is there loyalty in the legal services world? Of course there is. But again you prove my point when you say “…not like the loyalty you used to see from corporate America.” My response is why the hell not? (And that is not to say that Enron is a star in the firmament) There are lessons to be gleaned from corporate America past and present. Lawfirm 2.0 is something that I believe can be so beneficial to our social fabric.

Jack