Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Chris Wimmer graduated from Columbia Law School in 2005 and opened his own practice, Emergent Legal, in 2013. I spoke to him in March 2014. “A good lawyer has to have a genuine desire to relate to his clients in order to advance their interests.  He has to be genuinely interested in understanding who they are and what motivates them.” Tell me about the path that led you to start your own legal practice. I went to law school to be a human rights lawyer.  But I had a daughter not long after I graduated from law school, and I had to think about how to support a family. So after I finished my clerkship with Judge Jack B. Weinstein in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, I went to work in commercial litigation and white collar disputes, first at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP and […]

ABA’s Legal Rebels project – Profiles innovative lawyers “finding new ways to practice law, represent their clients, adjudicate cases and train the next generation of lawyers.” James Baron, Esq. – Special education solo practitioner. Helen Gulgun Bukulmez, Esq. – Immigration law solo practitioner. Lee Rosen, Esq. – Family law solo practitioner.

How soon after graduating from law school can/should you start your own practice? I hear conflicting reports. On the one hand, I hear lawyers and entrepreneurs advising that you should not try to start a new business until you have worked in the field for several years, not only to build skills but also to build important contacts. On the other hand, I have heard attorneys say that it is harder to start a new practice if you have first worked the grind in a D.A.’s office or large firm because you pick up too many bad habits that need to be undone and because the skills you learn as a bottom-level associate are not really all that transferable to — well, to anything. (See my post here.) I don’t know which of these is “right” (perhaps both are true in some way), but I do know that I have personally spoken […]

There has been, beginning quite recently, a growing movement to create training and support systems for new lawyers who want to pursue the small or solo practice route, including more real-world practice-oriented training for law students and incubator and residency programs for recent graduates. This week, I spoke to leaders of two organizations that represent another support model for solo and community lawyers: virtual networks. The Community Legal Resource Network (CRLN) a New York group affiliated with CUNY’s law school, and Starting Out Solo (SOS), a Massachusetts group. Both are new creations: CRLN was established in 1998, Starting Out Solo in 2008. Both were bottom-up responses to the perceived lack of support for solo practitioners and both, independently of one another, developed — in some respects at least — similar models. CRLN’s 300 member lawyers, from the five boroughs of New York City, have varied experience and expertise. They can ask […]

During my last year of law school I learned about tech start-up incubators like Y Combinator – which provides seed money, guidance, and networking opportunities to new start-ups – from my friends in Silicon Valley, and I was intrigued about the potential for using this model to help lawyers who wanted to create their own “start-up” law practice. In late August, I learned about the existence of law school incubators (the first of which was created only two years after Y Combinator) and booked a flight to see one of these incubators in person: the Access to Justice Initiative, affiliated with California Western School of Law. (For background on law school incubators, including the Access to Justice Initiative, see my recent post here.) In the upscale office space that houses the Access to Justice Initiative, looking out over a gorgeous floor-to-ceiling view of airplanes flying low over the city and onto the tarmac […]