Are you running a busy solo law practice that is profitable? Do you have an ongoing stream of prospective clients regularly contacting you for legal representation? Does your firm focus on an area of law that interests you?
If you can answer yes to these three questions, you are certainly on the right track with your law practice. However, even if your law firm can be described as successful, you might still suffer from one of the most common complaints amongst solo attorneys – the feeling of isolation.
As most solo attorneys know, working for yourself is very different from working as an employee of a law firm of any size.
There are quite a few perks to being a solo attorney. One of the most obvious is that when you are in business for yourself, you are your own boss. Being your own boss means you are in control of your work schedule. You don’t have to meet billable hour requirements set by someone else. Also, the location of your office is your choice.
As a solo attorney, you have quite a bit of decision-making power, and you are ultimately at liberty to take your law firm in any direction you see fit. But one thing you might not have control over is your ability to create a work environment that is not secluded.
No matter how many clients you have at any given moment in time, and no matter how many hours of work you complete on any given day, there’s a good chance you have moments when you feel as if you are separated from the rest of the world. If your office is isolated from that of other attorneys, or from other human beings in general, you might suffer from the lack interaction with peers.
If you are a solo attorney who is feeling the effects of isolation, there are ways to combat the problem. For example, you may consider the following:
- Locate your office somewhere that is near other solo attorneys
- Without merging your firms, share an office space with another solo attorney
- Attend professional networking events on a regular basis
- Create a social network with other solo professionals
- Get involved in a recreational sport or hobby with other adults
- Make time for a vacation or time away from your office
- Try to not spend too many hours in the office without a break
- Schedule in-person appointments with clients instead of phone or Skype meetings
Even if you consider yourself to be an introvert, or if you enjoy working alone, the effects of long-term isolation can lead to lower productivity or even to feelings of depression. If you spend a great deal of your day working alone in an office that is separated from others, it’s always a good idea to take a proactive approach to combating your seclusion.
The negative consequences of isolation can be avoided by taking a proactive approach to this potential problem. Make sure to develop professional relationships with others in your area of legal expertise, make a concerted effort to spend time with other legal professionals whom you find interesting, and join groups that provide you with a social outlet.