Over at Susan Cartier Liebel’s Build a Solo Practice she puts out a couple of statistics I hadn’t seen before:
Solos comprise more than 50% of all private practice attorneys in the country. In some states, like New York, they are as high as 81%.
With such a huge predominance of BigLaw in the news, I never realized that I was actually in the majority, not the minority.
But the stats lead to different questions, starting with this: What, exactly, is the definition of a solo?
Does this mean one lawyer, and one lawyer only (along with support staff)?
Or does solo mean that there may be a few associates, but 100% of the equity (and responsibility and liability) of the firm sits with one person?
What definitions are used to create these stats, and what definition should be used?
I’m not going to pretend I know what the “right” answer is, though I think that the element of 100% of the risk is more important than 100% of the work. This is especially true given that many solos may outsource some work when times get busy, creating a vast gray area of per diem, “of counsel,” and part-time lawyers that make precise definitions difficult. I just don’t know how any of this is factored in when statistics are compiled.
And I am more than a bit curious as to what others think, and with that, here is a shout out to:
- SoloBlawg (Ben Cowgill);
- Home Office Warrior (Grant Griffiths)
- Solo in Chicago (Peter Olson)
- The Inspired Solo (Cheryl Sisk Schelin)
- Legal Research and Writing Pro (Lisa Solomon)
- The Greatest American Lawyer (Enrico Schaefer);
- Chuck Newton Rides The Third Wave (Chuck Newton);
- And, of course, Carolyn Elefant, author of Solo by Choice.
I hope to hear back on other blogs and in the comments here.
Update – Responses:
- See What’s a solo? (Carolyn Elefant)
- Eric Turkewitz asks, “What is a Solo?” (Susan Cartier Liebel)
- What Is A Solo Practitioner? (Chuck Newton)