Monday, October 10, 2016
Well, I said I needed to learn different areas of the law
faster, and I think I got my wish. Tonight, I had my first
meeting in Seattle with the King County Bar Association’s
Family Law Program. And tomorrow I go down to Kent
to shadow an attorney at the Housing Justice Project.
The Family Law Program is fantastic. All I had to
do was sign up and agree to represent a family law
client pro bono, and suddenly I had access to all these
free CLEs and documents that are essentially a step-
by-step guide on how to practice family law. Even
better, I have an attorney mentor who is available
to answer any questions I might have, and I was
given a binder with templates for a lot of the forms
I will need. Aside from the warm fuzzy feeling I
get from putting my law degree to good use, who
knew volunteering would also be a great way
to wade into a new area of law? Plus, I have the
time to volunteer since I am still building my
own client base, and I might as well use that
time to figure out if I even like family law and
In fact, Diary, that was one of the best pieces of advice I got from an established estate planning attorney
before opening my own practice: He said I should give myself at least two years to figure out my niche. I appreciated his advice because I was feeling a lot of pressure to pigeon-hole myself into an area of law immediately
after opening my practice. I also felt a lot of pressure to immediately brand myself as an attorney who does a
certain area of law right out of the gate, so I could make a website and buy a domain name and do everything
else to market my services to the general public. But I don’t have the luxury of knowing a niche area of law right
now and I didn’t bring with me a set of clients with a particular set of legal issues to sustain myself in these first
few months of solo practice. Which means, Diary, I have to be patient as I figure out my niche. I have to hurry
up and wait and see and do. Which I am terrible at, even though I know it must be done.
Patience, Diary. That should help. Especially because I now can’t print at all to the big copier.
The WSBA Law Office Management
Assistance Program (LOMAP)
provides members with valuable resources for
launching a law office, including LOMAP’s
popular Law Office in A Box® and the WSBA
lending library. WSBA members can schedule
a law office management consultation, test out
case management software, and even get
help with practice transitions and retire-
ment considerations. Go to www.wsba.org/
lomap, or call 206-733-5914 for information.
Learn more about your WSBA member benefits
like Casemaker and other discounts on a
variety of products and services related to
practice management at wsba.org/benefits.
myself a nest of insulation and drywall and go back to
sleep. Early morning marketing is not for me.
But Diary, the best part is, I don’t have to do it. As a
solo practitioner, I get to choose what to do and how to
do it, and to me that means playing to my strengths. I
am not good at pasting a smile on my face at 7: 30 am,
but I am good at meeting new people in small groups
for drinks after work. I am good at networking with
attorneys whose work I find interesting or funny. For
example, over three years ago I emailed one of the
writers for NWLawyer after her article about her cat and
the Supreme Court left me laughing so hard my boyfriend almost called 911 because he thought I was having
a seizure. We met for lunch in Kirkland, and ever since,
she has been a great sounding board as well as just an
all-around cool person. That’s how I like connecting with
people. I don’t like to force it over bad coffee before 8 in
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
This morning I attended my very first Bellevue Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting and it was great!
But I am never doing that again.
Let me explain. A retired attorney in Bellevue sug-
gested I join the Chamber of Commerce as a means of
networking and marketing myself at their breakfast
meetings, which occur every Wednesday at 7: 30 a.m.
Now, Diary, I am not a morning person. I don’t truly
wake up until about 9 a.m., and I am rarely pleasant
to be around before 10 a.m. However, I thought I could
suck it up for the sake of my business. So I showed
up at the breakfast meeting with a smile and some
business cards and prepared to participate.
There are many things I can do at 7: 30 in the morning,
but selling myself is not one of them. Nor is meeting new
people and remembering names and being sociable. The
longer the meeting went on, the more I wanted to use my
rolling chair to bang a hole in the wall so I could make
Use your WSBA