Susan Cartier Liebel

Susan Cartier Liebel is the Founder and CEO of Solo Practice University®. She will teach a course entitled “How to Hang a Shingle Right Out of Law School…Or Shortly Thereafter”.

In 2000, Cartier Liebel approached the Acting Dean of Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, Connecticut and said, “let me teach your students how to open their own practice right out of law school.” She must have caught him in a weak moment because he gave her the green light.

In 2004 The Connecticut Law Tribune recognized her contributions to new lawyers who wished to go solo with the “Young Leaders in the Law” award for Education. This honor led to her regular columns in The Connecticut Law Tribune,The Complete Lawyer and Lawyers USA Weekly and then on to speaking engagements about (you guessed it) going solo!

In August, 2007  Cartier Liebel closed the doors to her law office so she could coach and consult full time and started the very popular blog Build A Solo Practice, LLC, (now Solo Practice University blog) which to this day remains a top blog in Law Practice Management as listed by the ABA Journal Online Blawg Directory.  In 2008, she concluded her instruction at Quinnipiac University School of Law which had limited the total number of students she could reach and decided to fulfill a professional dream.

In 2009,  Susan embarked upon an exciting challenge to bring solo practice education to hundreds, and soon thousands, of new lawyers throughout the country in the only online educational and professional networking community called Solo Practice University®. With more than 1100 users, 900+ individual classes, and 58+ faculty and growing, Solo Practice University® has made its mark on the professional legal landscape and is continuing to do so with innovative programs and strategic partnerships to help those who wish to go solo the opportunity to do so comfortably, affordably, and responsibly. More than 200 U.S.-based  law schools and 17 international law schools are currently represented among the student population.

A coach/consultant for solos and small firms, an attorney who started her own practice right out of law school, an Entrepreneur Mentor for the acclaimed Law Without Walls, an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University School of Law for eight years teaching law students how to open their own legal practices right out of law school, a columnist for LawyersUSA Weekly, The Connecticut Law Tribune, The Complete Lawyer, and, she has contributed to numerous online publications including Also interviewed by  MSNBC, Susan is often quoted in legal publications and books on solo practice as well as entrepreneurship and issues facing women in the workforce.

Susan was just recently honored to participate as a member of the advisory board for the innovative Suffolk School of Law – Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation charged with guiding the Institute’s future, particularly as it considers possible curricular innovations that will help law students prepare for the 21st century legal marketplace.

She speaks frequently to law schools, bar associations and professional organizations around the country on issues facing solos, offering both practical knowledge and inspiration.  If you’d like her to speak to your organization you can contact her at susan (at)


Whether starting right out of law school, just after the clerkship, or after years in BigLaw, creating and building your own solo practice is a decidedly individual experience.  Put thirty solo lawyers in a room and you will have thirty very unique and different experiences.  What this course will do is help you shorten and possibly flatten out the learning curve.  This course*, in combination with the multitude of great courses taught by our faculty at Solo Practice University®, will help you to lay the best foundation…for you...upon which to build your solo practice.


Overview of Lessons (This is a very brief description)

  • Ready, S.E.T., Go. You have to know your S.E.T. point before you can ‘Go’ anywhere.
  • Know which way the economic wind is blowing or get knocked flat again and again.
  • Don’t write a mission statement. Be on a mission!
  • Location! Location! Location! It’s not just about terra firma or clouds.
  • To partner or not to partner? That is the question.
  • Do you need a business plan? You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you want to go.
  • What role ‘can’ and ‘should’ technology play in your practice.
  • Dead president’s law or niche? (Or a little bit of both?)
  • Who’s going to hire me? (You’d be surprised!)
  • Marketing is not a dirty word. It’s the only word.
  • How to define and find your ‘ideal client’.
  • Credentialing. Start early… and never quit.
  • Social Media and the single lawyer. The dating game.
  • Crafting proper retainer agreements. Your livelihood depends upon it.
  • Pricing. Billing. Getting Paid. (And why your payment policies and procedures are a great marketing tool!)
  • Insurance – What you need. What you don’t. When you need it. When you won’t.
  • ….and much, much, more as the world of solo practice evolves in the 21st century.

This syllabus is a rough outline and may be presented out of order.

*When this course was taught in person, it was highly individualized.  Teaching online, Susan will be unable to address hundreds of students’ unique circumstances. However, the official study group within SPU moderated by the faculty will be the forum for active group discussion and collaboration.