Master of None?

on 10 January, 2011 Email this Email this - Print this Print this

Roger J Gould, CoreLegal copywriting expert, considers that endangered species – the Lesser Spotted Sole Practitioner.

As a breed it is threatened by the Greater Earning Diversified Bustard and the Avaricious Actuary, both of which tread it so regularly that it must devise new strategies to survive…

…The Avaricious Actuary has a legendary affinity with the Devil who forswears any harm to the Actuary as long as both their nests are always lined with pluckings from members of the legal profession. Lesser Spotted Sole Practitioners are particularly bullied by Actuaries and the explosion in the population of Greater Earning Diversified Bustards is a direct defensive result of this harassment.

In a time of reduced commercial activity should we be making the survival of the Sole Practitioner so speculative? When new business is vital to the health of the economy is it good sense to discourage young lawyers from venturing into sole practice? Their experience will be very different to the flocks of juniors in the big firms; they may not learn how to keep quiet among their elders and betters, or how to silently assassinate a colleague, but they will learn a great deal about running a business, cost control and generating clients.

The entire Industrial Revolution took place using firms which were neither national nor overmanned, but rewarded the profession handsomely. The multi-agency firm may become the dodo of the profession, too fat to fly or run away and useful only as food for others. Potential customers may well suspect this jack-of-all-trades to be a venal master of none, and avoid him accordingly. A whole new galaxy of expenses for marketing, publicity and damage limitation will probably emerge to remedy this.

Consider a possible alternative, a young solicitor skilled in one field, prepared to work all hours and able to do so because they are not involved a myriad meetings, good works, and irrelevant training sessions. Their only fixed overheads are insurance, stationery and a service charge for the office; their office services are contracted out to specialists, they have cloud computing, and buy only those services they need as they arise. The solicitor is the centre of a federation of legal specialists, perhaps even working from a chambers with a clerk who is paid in proportion to the fees they bring in. They even have the time to establish the relationship they want with their clients.

Maybe it is also time to consider whether Sole Practitioners should consider a mutual insurance body created by them to meet their needs and ensure any profits return to them. Most wheels have already been invented, perhaps some need recycling to protect this endangered species.

Roger J Gould

Roger J Gould, CoreLegal copywriting expert who helps the legal profession to tell the rest of what it is talking about and why they should be glad lawyers exist.

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Topics: smaller law firms

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