by Jared Walker
The SCBA announces the formation of a new Solo/Small Practice Division. Membership in the new division is open to any SCBA member who is a solo practitioner or works in a firm of four or less attorneys.
Early this year, SCBA Executive Director Mary Burroughs, President Angela Lai, First Vice President Heather Hoganson, and Membership Committee Chair Kurt Hendrickson started discussing the possibility of a new division. Informal feedback from SCBA members, together with MCLE and speaker topics at the January 2015 Board retreat, reinforced the idea that a network to assist small practitioners would benefit the local legal community. To gauge interest, Burroughs organized several meetings this past May, which were well attended and generated detailed input regarding the purpose of the new division.
This summer, the SCBA formally established the Solo/Small Practice Division, and approved an interim board consisting of Ellen Arabian-Lee, John Orcutt, Rob Hofmann, Debra Samuels, Jared Walker, Ben Williams, and co-chairpersons Eli Makus and Summer Haro. The goal is to create a vibrant forum that makes educational resources and practical solutions accessible to SCBA members who practice in a small firm setting. The division is designed to provide a network of resources and colleagues to help its members—including those new lawyers who recently opened their own solo practices—with matters such as ethical compliance, technology and practice management decisions, referral or association-of-counsel needs, office space dilemmas, or partnership and expansion considerations.
The infrastructure for this network is starting to take shape. Led by John Orcutt, the division is developing an e-mail listserv to connect members. Planning is underway to develop an agenda and to locate lecturers to present in-depth seminars that address challenges unique to small-practice attorneys. Division members will be encouraged to contribute articles or presentations regarding successfully operating a small law business. The division plans to collaborate with SCBA’s Mentorship Task Force—and in time, local law schools—to streamline an attorney-to-attorney advice program assisting new attorneys practicing on their own. This latter initiative received particularly strong support from SCBA members.
Accomplishing the division’s agenda depends on robust participation. All SCBA members in a solo or small practice, or interested in starting such a practice, are encouraged to get involved with the new division by contacting Mary Burroughs at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 564-3780.