Do you find yourself saying the ‘N’ word? If you don’t, you need to start and Suzanne Meehle explains why. It could save your practice and your law license.
I’ve been practicing law now for over ten years. I started out working at Big Law, and that wasn’t for me. And then I started a firm with a partner, and that didn’t work out either. Then I went solo, and that’s where I’ve spent the majority of my career. From working out of my home by myself to a brick-and-mortar office with two employees, for more than six years, it’s been Just Me, Esq.
Until now, that is. Are you ready to take on a partner…again?
Law is not a profession which admits the function and value of feelings. Our training teaches us to expunge them from our minds and our work. But as human beings we ignore our feelings at risk to our overall well-being. What do you do?
Life is crazy and hectic for the solo practitioner and I’ve talked to many who feel they simply can’t leave their solo practice for any length of time because they wouldn’t really be able to relax or the business would fall apart without them. But if you must know the truth, not taking time away from work, meaningful, restorative time, is actually hurting your practice and your health in insidious ways. And this is supported through studies linked to below. Without taking a respite, our work becomes ineffective.
Isolation will literally kill you. Yet many lawyers don’t even realize they are isolated. They also don’t realize there are many forms of isolation that are insidious and destructive. There is professional, personal and social isolation and you may not even understand you are isolated. Isolation is a mental health risk. Today we dig in to raise awareness in the legal community. These are very real and serious issues that have long term impact on your physical and mental health. And if this resonates with you at all, please seek out help. There are ways to manage this risk in a healthy and productive way. Listen and learn.
Life is about perspective and everyday we have to remember to keep perspective. Oftentimes, we lose site of the bigger picture, our purpose in the grand scheme of things and we need to step back and take the 30,000 foot view. What should you be focusing on?
When you spend enough time around lawyers, you learn that lawyers love to complain. Maybe that’s why a lawsuit is called a Complaint.
What complaint do we hear most often among unhappy lawyers who want a career change? Compensation is almost never the biggest issue. Or even working long hours. Find out what the biggest complaint actually is.
A year ago, I wrote about my love of running and how it keeps me sane. Well, right after I wrote that, I injured myself pretty badly. I am paying the price for not taking care of myself in ways both personal and professional. This is how I’m choosing to take control of my health today.
One of the best things about being a solo/small firm lawyer that solo/small firm lawyers always cite is the flexibility. Flexible work schedule, flexible billing options, flexible practice areas. We are practically yogis.
What we never say is that all that flexibility does not mean a reduced workload, easier billing or lowered obligations to learn all those new practice areas. There is a price, and we usually pay it in longer hours working for ourselves than we ever put in working for Big Law.