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TCL > June 2001 Issue > Teach Me to Solo: The Nuts and Bolts of Law Practice

June 2001       Vol. 30, No. 6       Page  50
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Review of Legal Resources

Teach Me to Solo: The Nuts and Bolts of Law Practice
Reviewed by Felicia M. Hitch

TEACH ME TO SOLO: THE NUTS AND BOLTS

OF LAW PRACTICE

By Hal Davis (Plano, TX: Anchovy Press, 2000) [Anchovy Press, Hal Davis, P.O. Box 864379, Plano, TX 75086-4379; order from Anchovy Press, at orders@anchovypress.com; on the Web at www.anchovypress.com; or by fax at (888) 840-2399], 214 pp.; $29.95.

Reviewed by Felicia M. Hitch

A solo practitioner in Denver, Colorado.

Many graduating law students probably dream of being hired by a top-notch law firm and making lots of money. However, the reality is that only a few will graduate in the top 5 percent of their class and have a job waiting for them in a law firm. Hal Davis’s Teach Me to Solo: The Nuts and Bolts of Law Practice is for the other 95 percent of students in a graduating class, as well as for those who choose to be a self-employed lawyer, regardless of their graduating rank.

Teach Me to Solo is unique in that the author became a solo practitioner right out of law school. Hal Davis was laid off from the banking industry in 1987. When few banking jobs were to be had, he decided to go to law school. Having been laid off, he knew that the best solution to never being laid off again was self-employment. His book is the result of mistakes made and lessons learned through trial and error. Davis’s success as a solo practitioner is a testimony to his own hard work and dedication, and the guidance of mentors.

Teach Me to Solo not only contains basic information such as that found in longer texts, but also provides specific recommendations on matters such as computer hardware, portable computing, software, and utilities and computer maintenance —a must in this age of technology. Along with specific technological information, various chapters thoroughly cover other aspects of law practice every solo practitioner needs to know to survive, such as advertising, getting and keeping clients, when to refuse clients, and where to office and why.

Despite its brevity, Teach Me to Solo contains practical advice as well as the legal and ethical ramifications of a lawyer’s decisions. For example, the book discourages the practice of hiring oneself out as a general practitioner. "People do not hire lawyers because they can solve a variety of problems, but because the lawyer can solve the particular problem the client is facing." This cannot be stressed enough to new solo lawyers who have to eat and pay the rent (for a home and maybe an office). In the beginning, solo practitioners tend to take all kinds of work just to make money, even when they may not be competent in a particular matter. Thus, because of inexperience or lack of knowledge, solo lawyers may be more prone to malpractice when trying to practice in too many areas.

Teach Me to Solo is concise and written in clear English. Although the book is redundant at times, it is a good primer for someone looking to start a solo practice. It is also recommended as a supplement to one of the leading texts on starting law practices, such as Jay Foonberg’s How to Start and Build a Law Practice or Gerald Singer’s How to Go Directly Into the Solo Practice of Law Without Missing a Meal. Teach Me to Solo is short enough not to be overwhelming and comprehensive enough to give a clear picture of the basics for starting a solo practice.

© 2001 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved. Material from The Colorado Lawyer provided via this World Wide Web server is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and may not be reproduced in any way or medium without permission. This material also is subject to the disclaimers at http://www.cobar.org/tcl/disclaimer.cfm?year=2001.


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