Starting a Solo Practice – A Seminar

You probably don’t need to be told that this is the worst hiring environment for recently licensed (and even experienced) attorneys in… forever. A few statistics:

  • Law schools are graduating 45,000 lawyers each year for what the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates are about 25,000 new jobs.
  • Average recent law grad educational debt is more than $100,000.
  • My informal survey of 2011 and 2012 recent law grads suggests more than half are under-employed or unemployed (Meaning, for instance, if you’d told them in 2008 that they could pay UNC $100,000 to graduate with a job as a doc reviewer, a volunteer in a PD, DA or non-profit office, on a post-graduate “fellowship,” or no job at all, they would’ve considered that a bad deal.)

You can’t discharge the debt. You can’t even give back your JD in exchange for debt forgiveness. You can’t will into existence new jobs.

But what can you do?

A friend, Kellie Mannette (UNC ’09), and I were talking about the parlous state of the legal market today, and how we can help recent grads.

We’re trying to gauge interest in what would be a short, free seminar – perhaps 2 to 3 hours – where we and other attorneys would address – in specifics – how to start a solo practice.

This is not a networking event. This is not a meet and greet. If you do meet other people who turn out to be helpful, that’s great. But the main point is to impart ideas and information on how you – in a practical sense – can start up a solo practice, keep costs down, find clients, get mentored, satisfy bar requirements (CLE, ethics, and trust issues), and figure out how to practice your area of law.

Note: I am not suggesting that solo practices will save the legal job market, or necessarily be right for you. But faced with the avalanche of debt, I don’t have a lot of other suggestions other than to help you figure out whether this is a possible avenue for you.

Even if you “know” that solo practice is not for you, you probably don’t know what solo practice involves. This would be a low-cost way for you to figure out whether you want to try this form of law practice, a form of law practice that goes back hundreds of years, far longer than the Cravath model of the big law firm.

We would host this somewhere in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Area.

But we need your help:

  1. To help us reach out to recent and future grads (we think the classes would be 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015) from any law school.
  2. To help us build out the agenda with your questions, suggestions, and ideas.

We will not be offering CLE credit for this seminar. However, we would provide refreshments and it would be casual.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.