By Morgan Decker, Moreno & Villarrubia LLP
The IndyBar Solo/Small Firm Division realizes the great reward and hard work that goes into practicing law in a small or solo law firm. Along with the Indianapolis Bar Association as a whole, our division “strives to serve the unique needs of solo/small practitioners while focusing on professional development, education, marketing, networking and practice management.” That’s an official mission statement. And we mean it. Sounds serious. And it is.
As a lawyer, it is hard to convey the amount of stress and pressure that is on our plates on any given day (with those non-lawyers on the “outside”). That is particularly true of small/solo practitioners who must deal with the pressures of practicing law and the stress of being a small-business owner and the multitude of responsibilities that brings with it (along with daily isolation from other lawyers that people at a medium/large firm may not quite understand.) One main goal that our division is trying to improve is our sense of community as lawyers and specifically, small and solo lawyers. A not-so-recent trend of coworking office spaces has continued to grow across the country. The American Bar Association had a recent article highlighting “lawyer-only” coworking facilities popping up in bigger cities. These facilities help address confidentiality concerns and other lawyer-specific concerns while saving a small/solo practitioner money by reducing overhead and allowing a la carte pricing, depending on one’s needs.
Here in Indy, we have several great coworking spaces for all types of entrepreneurs (the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has a great article that contains links to all sorts of spaces in the state of Indiana). These facilities may not be “lawyer-only” but they provide great options to reduce overhead and provide flexibility for a small-business owner in the beginning or height of his or her career.
Also, there is a coworking passport that allows access to more than 30 facilities for one price so you can have workspace throughout various areas in Indiana! Whoever had that idea deserves a gold star in my book for those of us who travel outside our home counties to represent clients. I would put this idea up there with that sealant spray that allows you to put a screen door on the bottom of a boat or possibly Venmo/Zelle/Chase Quick Pay!
For me, being a better lawyer (and Hoosier/person) is dependent on the relationships I create, maintain and nurture throughout my life. The psychological benefit to having other attorneys around you (and the referral business) and the experience it gives you over time is invaluable. I love having conversations with other lawyers and knowing I am not the only one going through things sometimes (and getting bits of advice on different judges or having lunch and talking about our families). If you are graduating law school, a recently admitted attorney, or a solo attorney of zero to 30 years, we can all benefit from spending time around one another and the human contact that a shared workspace can offer. If that’s not for you, find another way to talk to your fellow attorneys. It will do so much for you. You can come hang out at the Indians game on July 17 with your fellow small/solo practitioners and have some fun (register at indybar.org/events)! Or, just email me to grab a bagel or lunch or anything because I appreciate every second I get to spend listening to someone else’s story.
This article was originally published on the IndyBar Solo/Small Firm Division blog. To see more, visit indybar.or/ssf.