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Solo Practice

Known colloquially as "hanging a shingle," solo practitioners work for themselves and can build their practices however they see fit. Some have a general practice, while others do just a single area of law, a collection of related practice areas, or find a niche based on client type.

Episode #58
Sep 4, 2023

Family Matters: Dollars, Decisions, and Dealing with Divorce

Whitney Lallas, a 2019 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, is a family law attorney in Maine. She shares her journey into family law, influenced by her interest in psychology and math. The emotional and financial aspects of her work figure prominently into what she likes about her work, as well as what's challenging. She provides insights into handling prenuptial agreements, child-related matters, and dealing with hidden assets. Whitney also explains her eat-what-you-kill compensation structure and emphasizes the significance of maintaining work-life balance.
Episode #57
Aug 28, 2023

Death and Taxes: Estate Planning for High-Net-Worth Clients

Linsey Gleason, a 2008 graduate of Michigan State University College of Law, talks about her estate planning practice at a large firm in Michigan. Her role involves helping clients determine their beneficiaries, trustees, and how to distribute their assets after death. She navigates emotionally complex conversations about end-of-life wishes and legacy planning. Her work often extends beyond just legal matters, as she guides clients through the practical and emotional dimensions of estate planning. The conversation also delves into networking and client acquisition strategy.
Episode #52
Aug 24, 2020

Litigating Brain Injuries Against Huge Insurance Companies

Ilya Lerma, a graduate of the University of Arizona, runs a small solo practice where she takes on insurance companies in complicated brain injury cases. She discusses the difficulty of running a contingency-fee practice, litigating as a woman of color, and how she manages the stress of being a lawyer.
Episode #47
Jul 20, 2020

Sports & Entertainment Law: Making a Solo Firm Work Against the Odds

Jeremy Evans, a graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, managed to outlast hundreds who started law school hoping to do sports and entertainment law. He talks about the struggle to start his own firm and why he thinks he was among the last standing.
Episode #45
May 6, 2019

A Lawyer for Tourists in Trouble

Alan Fowler, a graduate of Mercer University School of Law, primarily represents tourists who got into trouble while on vacation. He talks about finding clients, their urgency in resolving their legal trouble, and how he learns about what they really want.
Episode #38
May 8, 2016

Estate Planning and Probate Counseling

Kathryn Cockrill, a graduate of Touro Law School, started her career at a small firm and then went out on her own to reap the rewards of building a business in estate planning and probate. In this episode, Kathryn explains the ins and outs of probate, for both the living and the deceased. She also talks about how she avoids bill collection pitfalls, why she plans to hire help once her firm is on a more stable financial footing, and why her practice keeps her interested and invested.
Episode #37
Apr 3, 2016

Appellate Lawyer: Telling a Court They Got It Wrong

Virginia Whitner Hoptman, a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, changed course several times throughout her career before settling back where she started with a highly specialized appellate practice. In this episode, Virginia explains the appeals process for winners and losers at the trial level. She also talks about elitism in the world of appeals, how difficult it is to become a full-time appellate lawyer, and what makes appellate lawyers fundamentally different than trial lawyers. 
Episode #36
Mar 20, 2016

Criminal Defense: The Business Side of Being a Lawyer

Matt Swain, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law, started his own criminal defense practice in a college town 20 miles outside of Oklahoma City immediately after graduation. In this episode, Matt describes the importance of understanding your business inside and out and the techniques he uses that ultimately make him more efficient and more likely to notice opportunities that help his clients move forward with their lives.
Episode #29
Nov 9, 2015

Public Finance in New York City Biglaw

Joan Kerecz, a graduate of Duke University School of Law, discusses the various roles she’s played in helping public entities pay for, among other public projects, school and road expansions. Joan also talks to us about the on-campus interview climate at her law school and her decision to move firms after just two years.
Episode #22
Jul 27, 2015

Leaving the Law: What Drove One Lawyer to a High School Classroom

Jaye Lindsay, a graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Law, decided after 3.5 years that he’d had enough. His first job out of law school wasn't glamorous, but the steady pay and hands-on litigation experience made up for a lack of health insurance and low hourly wages. But over time, he wanted a better standard of living and work-life balance. After going solo and finding it impossible to manage his average-size debt load, he decided to become a high school special education teacher and practice law on the side. This episode also offers a window into the economics of small law firms, the trade-offs that clients face when they cannot afford a lawyer, and how people juggle and evaluate life priorities.
Episode #21
Jul 19, 2015

Video Game Law: Starting a Solo Practice with Niche Clients

Ryan Morrison, a 2013 graduate of New York Law School, created a firm centered on helping video game developers. His work greatly varies depending on what his clients need, but often involves intellectual property and contracts. In this episode, Ryan shares his biggest challenges and how he built a rare practice from a pro bono matter. 
Episode #10
Mar 9, 2015

Representing Medical Malpractice Plaintiffs

Greg Aycock, a graduate of Washington University School of Law, shares how he transitioned from representing defendants to representing plaintiffs. He left his insurance defense practice on a leap of faith and discusses the struggles of being your own boss and getting a firm off the ground. Until Greg gets his medical malpractice practice off the ground, he pays the rent with divorces and child custody work. For either practice, Greg spends considerable time explaining the legal process and law to clients, while keeping them under control so that he can present their best case possible.
Episode #6
Feb 9, 2015

Obtaining Writs of Mandamus to Assist Aggrieved Government Employees

Michael Morguess, a graduate of Western State University College of Law, discusses his new appellate practice where he frequently seeks writs of mandamus—an order to a government agency or official to behave in accordance with the law—for clients terminated by government agencies. With jobs and livelihoods on the line, Michael faces a lot of pressure running his own firm, but the intellectual challenge and thrill of victory buoy his non-traditional litigation practice.
Episode #5
Feb 2, 2015

Delving into Residential Real Estate Law

Barbara Stewart, a graduate of University of Texas School of Law, is a real estate lawyer. Barbara started her career as in-house counsel for a large communications company before venturing into real estate law. Today, she spends her time drafting real estate transaction documents to help clients purchase and sell residential homes. Barbara outlines several common trappings that face real estate lawyers. If her sky-high malpractice insurance is any measure, it's among the riskier practice areas around.
Episode #2
Jan 21, 2015

The Insurance Maze, Tough Clients, and Prevalent Sexism in Personal Injury Practice

Tricia Dennis, a graduate of the University of Tennessee School of Law, has been a personal injury lawyer for almost 30 years. From dealing with sexist opponents to corralling tough clients, Tricia reveals several challenges she's faced in her career. She walks us through a plaintiff lawyer’s perspective on client intake, negotiations, and settlement. By the end of this episode, listeners understand that, more than anything, Tricia is a small business owner who helps her clients navigate an insurance maze.