Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Solo Practioners & Small Firms: Living Shingle

By Amanda M. Uliano

     Welcome to the start of a new year for the Solo & Small Firm Section of the Hillsborough County Bar Association.  I am excited to be taking the helm this year, and I thank my predecessors, especially James Schmidt, for their dedication to our section and the HCBA as a whole.

     Unlike other sections and committees of the HCBA, the Solo & Small Firm Section encompasses a truly diverse membership, with practitioners in a variety of substantive law areas and practice settings. Although this can sometimes present a challenge when defining ourselves, our diversity affords us a unique opportunity to grow our businesses in new and unexpected ways through collaboration and education.  As solo and small firm practitioners, we are sometimes expected to be a jack of all trades ― even if it takes us out of our preferred comfort zones. With that in mind, the overarching theme for this year’s Solo & Small Firm Section will be focused on those practice management and substantive issues that every solo and small firm lawyer should have working knowledge of.

     We will have five lunch meetings this year, each with an informative CLE presentation. As technology changes, so does the practice of law, and we will explore practice management issues in this new age, including the ins and outs of a virtual law practice. With changing times, however, come evolving issues in ethics and professional responsibility, and we will discuss those most pressing concerns facing our practice today. We will also look at substantive issues affecting our clients, and perhaps ourselves, including bankruptcy and judgment collection, intellectual property, and estate planning. 

     Beyond education, our meetings will provide us the opportunity to get to know each other and build that imperative network of competent and trustworthy colleagues that every lawyer needs ― a social setting to learn from and with each other so we are not really traveling this road “solo.” We will also explore ways to work as a section to support our community and the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit’s pro bono initiatives. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions as to how our section can work best to accomplish our group and individual goals. 

     Whether you are a current solo or small firm practitioner or are contemplating making that step, I hope you will join us this year. I look forward to working with all of you to grow and strengthen our businesses and our Solo & Small Firm Section of the HCBA.