As Chair of the Solo & Small Firm Section of The Florida Bar for the 2017-18 bar year, I have two goals:
- to make this section work for you; and
- to work together to make this section the best it can be.
Almost two-thirds of Florida Bar members practice in firms of five lawyers or less and almost four-fifths of Florida Bar members practice in firms of ten lawyers or less. If you fall into those categories, you may have more in common with other solo and small-firm practitioners than you realize.
As attorneys, we must wear many hats. If you are practicing in a small firm, the pressures and responsibilities can seem endless at times. It is easy to feel the pull of focusing all of your time and attention on your clients’ needs and developing your practice. However, as is so often the case, we become overwhelmed by the daily tasks of working on our files that we can lose sight of the other balls we have in the air. On the other hand, you can so easily start to focus on the business side of the practice that the individual needs of your clients can, at times, suffer. The going and going and doing and doing often results in burnout. You may have a vague sense that there are better ways to do things, but not enough time to find them and sort through them. You probably wonder about the technology you use, and wish you had more guidance on what you should be using, what you should be paying for it, and how long it should last. You are confident in your abilities, but wonder how you can get the word out to potential clients.
If this description fits you, then the Solo & Small Firm Section is your natural home within The Florida Bar. Rather than focusing on a single substantive area of practice, our mission is to serve solos and small firms in all areas of practice to help them grow rewarding, balanced and profitable practices.
During the 2017-2018 year, we will be working on improving our ability to communicate with our members and to offer them information and resources to assist them in growing their practices. Expect to see more regular communication, more networking opportunities, and more information on practice management and technology.
Here are some of the events you can look forward to during the upcoming year:
Solo and Small Firm Conference 2018
This is our flagship event. It is designed to teach you how to select and use technology to help your practice, as well as providing old-fashioned nuts-and-bolts advice about the basics of practice management.
Out-Of-State Trip 2018: Ireland (and Scotland)
We are excited to offer a trip to the emerald island for our out-of-country trip this year. As an added bonus, we will be in Dublin over St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to the great deal of fun we will have, the educational component will focus on comparative law with a glimpse into how legal services are provided in that country.
Other CLE Opportunities
Look for us to put on three other live in-person CLE seminars during this year: our annual Ethics Seminar, our Agricultural Law Update, and the Florida Law Update at The Florida Bar Annual Convention. In addition, we are offering several audio webcasts throughout the year focused on meeting the needs of our members who are not able to attend live CLEs.
We will continue to publish our quarterly newsletter, The Link, with useful information for small-firm practitioners.
If you haven’t joined our Facebook group, please be sure to do so. We have more members using it to post on topics of interest, and we will be using it to push out more information to our group. If you have articles, case analyses, or newsworthy information to share with our members, please feel free to post them.
I welcome your suggestions on how we can better serve your needs. Feel free to post suggestions on our Facebook page, or you can email me directly at email@example.com.
We are looking forward to a great year – and we want you be a part of it!
Sean T. Desmond
2017-2018 Solo & Small Firm Chair