Last year when I received an invitation from the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession to contribute to their newest book The Road to Independence with words about my journey to starting my own law firm, I was excited and thought it was an interesting concept. I especially appreciated it was focused on the feminine perspective.
On Friday I received my copy and never have I been so impressed with the end product. This book is a compilation of mini-autobiographies of 101 women lawyer/entrepreneurs who have journeyed into solo or very small law firm practice spanning from 1954 to today. This book has been long overdue!
I’m truly humbled by these women. Their stories and their wisdom, their challenges and their successes, are in the truest and purest sense of the word inspirational.
But they are not just auto-biographical in nature, they offer very real advice gained in the trenches on how to succeed, how to overcome fears and professional barriers. The contributors are not the usual suspects or those who frequent social media. I found it very interesting that I know only one other lawyer in this book and it is SPU’s very own Katherine Frye ….and I know a lot of female lawyers who are solo or started one or two person firms. It’s exciting because it puts a much broader and positive feminine face on the profession and especially the solo practitioner.
It has been described as follows:
The Road to Independence is a collection of 101 letters from women who have taken the courageous and difficult step of creating a law firm of their own, either as a solo or with others. Focusing on the experiences, challenges, and opportunities of women-owned law firms, these women, in their personal voices, reiterate key themes: Of becoming businesswomen. Of choosing a practice area true to their passion and the high character they bring to the bar. Of controlling not only their days but their destinies. Of ambition in action.
Women continue to face significant barriers and obstacles at law firms in this country; thus, it is hardly surprising that more and more women are opting to create their own firms.
Throughout this inspirational book, the reader will find business-savvy tidbits and practical tips for starting and growing a successful law practice in the words of the founders themselves. Grouped chronologically according to when each writer started her woman-owned practice, this collection implicitly portrays the profession’s growth, the society’s evolution, the economy’s fortunes, and the periodic changes in business models of private practice. Explicitly, these letters unite to reflect not only the drive to practice law but also, the impact of those cultural changes on women in private practice.
The letters compiled in this book reflect the voices of women who are happy with their practices, proud of their entrepreneurial spirit and business development skills, and eager to share their advice with others who may be emboldened to follow in their footsteps. The Road to Independence will serve as a catalyst, guide, and inspiration for other women who are contemplating the possibility of setting out on their own.
It is my fervent wish that all women lawyers buy this book. I believe all law school career counsel offices should have at least two copies to lend to their female students who express interest in solo practice. I honestly believe this book can be the ABA’s number one best seller (right up there next to Jay Foonberg’s How to Start and Build A Law Practice) and for decades to come because it is timeless. The law librarians should lament their copies are dog-eared, bindings fallen apart or stolen from their shelves – at least every law librarian who is smart enough to stock it (and re-stock it) on their shelves. I also would like to the see the Commission publish a volume II…and III…and showcase as many stories as possible for the world to see.
I hope the ABA makes this available for e-readers. Seriously, it’s that good.
SPU students will get a 10% discount through our Co-Op; SPU takes no affiliate commission for selling the book.
I strongly encourage everyone to buy this book. It’s in paperback so the cost isn’t as great as traditional ABA hardcover books. But it is not only worth every penny, it can change your life and that makes it priceless!
One comment on “The Road To Independence”
Susan, you do great honor to the Road To Independence, just released by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. Thank you. As Editor of the book, poring over the 101 letters that now comprise the collection, I learned with each re-reading of each letter that to understand some of them increases the understanding of the others. I too hope that everyone reads this book! You can learn about some of the themes that emerged in the article at YourABA, at http://www.bit.ly/RoadInterview. And you can attend the program and meet some of the letter writers at the Commission’s Annual Meeting program; see http://www.americanbar.org/groups/women/events_cle/road_independence.html. Check it all out at http://www.lockwoodgroup.com/default.taf?page=Blogs (6/28/11 entry).
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