Do Ethics Committees Pick On Solos? Yes, yes and yes!
Back in February 2003, when MyShingle was still in its infancy, I wrote this blockbuster post, entitled The Bar's Dirty Little Not So Secret Secret, which offers some powerful evidence to demonstrate that solo and small firm lawyers are the targets of disciplinary actions far more than our large firm counterparts. Apparently, the disparity between large and small firm treatment remains an issue four years later; it was the topic of a bar panel discussion at last week's ABA conference, with some great follow up commentary here at Susan Cartier Liebel'sHow to Build A Solo Practice blog.
Take a look at my earlier post which summarizes my own reaction to the panel discussion better than I'm able to do at the moment.
Been on Vacation -- and Off the Grid!
Sorry for the silence here at My Shingle - I've been on a long awaited vacation this week (and here's the proof!). I know that many bloggers often leave a stock of blog posts to auto-post while they're away, but I prefer real time postings (anything else is too much like a newspaper article to me). So how does a solo take a guilt free vacation (with 48 hours away from cell phone, Blackberry and Internet access, no less?). Here are a couple of suggestions:
(1) Get as much done as you can before you leave. Even if you have a deadline a couple of days after your vacation, try to finish the matter before you head out so that you don't worry about the deadline while you're away.
(2) Send out your invoices. When you're a solo, vacation equates to unpaid leave. But when you send out a bunch of invoices before you leave, your checks should arrive soon after you return - so you don't feel guilty for having taken the time off (not that you should anyway!)
(3) Put a vacation message on your cell phone. A message that you're out of the office alerts callers to the possibility that they shouldn't expect a return call within 24 hours. And you can relax, and set aside a morning or two to return calls in bulk (or respond by email) instead of racing to find a private place to return a call after you receive it. A vacation message also helps in a situation like mine, where I was unexpectedly without phone or internet access for two days.
(4) Find a back up. Arrange for a colleague to serve as back up - to go over to the court or make a filing for you if an emergency comes up. Chances are you won't need the help, but if you do, having a back up in place is preferable to having to race back from your trip.
(5) Give yourself a cushion. According to my voice mail, I'm on vacation through the end of this week. That's partly true - I have a bunch of housecleaning issues to address as well as some last minute minutia related to my book. I'll still be doing work this week (among other things, I will need to attend an unexpected hearing and review a contract for an interesting new project that I'll be handling) - but I don't feel as if I have to jump in full force.
(6) And finally - do take a real vacation away. I have not had a real vacation in over a year. And I never realized how much I needed one until I took this one. From now on, I will not go more than a few months without at least a four day vacation.
I'll probably resume blogging here towards the end of this week, but I'll also be posting over at Legal Blogwatch.
Are Women Fighting for Equality At Biglaw Behind the Times?
I was looking through some of these relatively new books on getting ahead in business and entrepreneurship that Marci Alboher reviewed in her Careers Column for the NY Times. (If you recall, I reviewed Marci's book, One Person, Multiple Careers back here in February). What struck me about these three books - Anti 9 to 5 Guide: Practical Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube; The Parentpreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building A Successful Business ; and Grindhopping: Building A Rewarding Career Without Paying Your Dues - is that not only do they each have their own website (probably di rigeur for most new titles but they are all authored by women who are pushing the concept of entrepreneurship and jumping off the traditional career ladder as a way for women to get ahead. Contrast that "go get 'em," risk-taking mentality with the initiatives within the legal profession for advancement by women at a law firm - like begging for flex time or waiting for "the firm" to come up with ways to help women network.
All of this made me wonder whether women seeking equality at law firms are behind the times instead of on the cutting edge. Because if these books are any reflection of what's happening in the business context, it seems that in order for women to succeed, they need to break the rules, not follow them and make their own rules instead of forcing others to change theirs.
For a previous, related post on a similar topic, see And where were the women solos?
Inspired Solo Announces New Blawg Service
My colleague Sheryl Sisk Schelin at The Inspired Solo blog (which has a great new look; I'm in the process of a facelift here at MyShingle as well) just announced a new venture: her Blawg in a Box package that helps busy solos get started on the road to blogging. Check out the new service - and be sure to mention that you've come to the site via My Shingle.