Lawyers who opt to become a solo lawyer generally do so because they like working alone and having the control and flexibility that comes with running a business. Even if a solo lawyer hires staff or spends at least part of every day in court, they generally work alone. The big issue in working alone isn’t loneliness. It’s the lack of accountability. Accountability plays a big part in protecting you from bar complaints. Here’s how you can improve your accountability as a solo lawyer.
Attend Networking Events for Solo Lawyers
Although bar associations have solo lawyer associations and networking events, they’re often seen by their target audience as just a meet and greet hour of socialization. Yet, that’s not all these events are for. They put you into contact with other lawyers who work on their own. This isn’t about creating a network for referrals. It’s about connecting with people who face similar struggles. It’s about meeting people who understand what it’s like to run a solo law office.
Over time, the development of friendships or at least acquaintances can be beneficial. This creates an environment where you can find someone to help you be accountable in areas where you’d like to improve your practice.
Networking events for solo lawyers are also important because they also keep you in the loop about current ethics and changes that may be made to the rules. It’s much easier to be accountable when you know the rules!
Be Honest about What You Need to Improve
For accountability to make a difference in your life, you must be honest about what you need to improve. Having an accountability partner does you no good if you aren’t truly honest about what you need to accomplish. If you’ve received a letter from the bar that states a complaint was filed against you, you can start by reading the entire contents of it. This can give you great insight because it could highlight at least one area where you need to improve.
You should also consider the most common reasons that clients file complaints. One of those reasons is lack of communication. Billing issues is another reason. Review your processes and determine if you need to improve in those areas.
Accountability Can Make You Uncomfortable
When it comes to accountability, there’s something you need to know. The process can make you feel uncomfortable. It can hurt your pride to think that you need to improve. It can feel like someone is punishing us when we’re trying to meet a better standard. Hearing the truth and taking action to improve is uncomfortable. Feeling discomfort doesn’t mean that you’re a bad lawyer (or a bad person). It means you’re going through the normal feelings associated with accountability.
Accountability can bring us face to face with what makes us feel intimidated (and what we’re doing to avoid it). It can be difficult to own up and change, but it’s necessary to provide clients with the best experience possible and to help improve your chance of success as a solo lawyer.
Was an Ethics Complaint Filed Against You?
If an ethics complaint was filed against you, you’re not alone. Thousands of complaints are filed against lawyers every year. Before you respond, read this post. It will help you decide your best course of action. If you still have questions, schedule a consultation with Zavieh Law. Zavieh Law provides both full and partial representation for lawyers.
The post Improving Your Accountability as a Solo Lawyer appeared first on Ethics and California State Bar defense lawyer Megan Zavieh.
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