18 August 2008 by Published in: General News 7 comments

More than two years ago, I breathlessly announced that I was leaving a law firm where my name was on the door as a named partner to join another law firm. I was very excited about the prospect, as I really thought it was going to be a good opportunity for me. It turned out not to be for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that the law firm has an unworkable compensation plan, and I couldn’t afford to stay there (I’m not alone; two others have left for pretty much the same reason). That was my third attempt at trying to be a partner in a law firm, and all were bad experiences. At the end of March 2007, I went back out on my own. I have been operating as a sole practitioner since that time.

That has had its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, it’s given me the freedom to come and go as I please without anyone to answer to. The down side is that I have had no resources whatsoever available to me. I have no secretary, and no support staff at all. While that’s been okay, it also means that there are distinct limits to what I can accomplish alone. And, there’s also the fact that the types of business clients that really want to attract often have the perception that a lone ranger like me doesn’t have the resources to provide for their needs. Consequently, about the end of the year last year, I came to the conclusion that I had to find a firm to join. Given my prior bad experiences, I figured it would take time and that it would be a challenge. Unfortunately, I was right.

At the same time, the break-in last month was a real wake-up call. I’m still recovering from it, and it’s completely changed how I do things. I now carry my Mac laptop back and forth. I had to install Parallels Desktop on this computer, as well as Windows XP Pro, so I can run my billing and case management software safely; neither program has a Mac version, so I really had no choice. A couple of days after the break-in happened, I had a conversation with one of the owners of the building, and I told him that I firmly believed that the lack of a security light and a security system were the reasons why the break-in occurred, and that if they wanted me to stay in the building, they would have to put in some security. He told me that if that was what it took, he would see that it got done.

To make a long story short, it’s now been 46 days since the break-in, and the smashed window still has not been replaced. I still have a plywood window. No security system has been installed, and I have been advised that no security system will be installed. The owners of the building apparently think that it’s more important to install a new laminate floor that looks like hardwood in the entryway and lobby of the building than it is to protect their nearly million dollar investment, so that clinched it for me. I can’t be in a building where nobody but me cares about things like security, and I likewise can’t imagine staying in a place where the concerns of the tenants are of so little concern. I gave thirty days’ notice on August 1, and I will be moving out of the building the day after Labor Day.

I will be joining an existing law firm in the Columbus suburb of Pickerington in an “of counsel” capacity. That means I will continue to maintain my independence while still having the resources of a law firm behind me. My overhead will actually go down, and I will have secretarial services and a receptionist, things I don’t have at present. And the building has security. I’ve known the owner of the firm for nearly 20 years, and we’ve had a couple of shared clients. He’s a good guy, and I’ve long wanted to practice with him. If all goes well, we will form a partnership. If not, I will continue on as a sole practitioner.

I have a lot to do between now and then to get ready for the move, so my frequency of posting may drop a bit. Please bear with me. I will be back as usual after the move is completed. I hate it when my job interferes with my hobbies, but sometimes, it just cannot be helped. This is one of those instances.

Scridb filter


  1. Mon 18th Aug 2008 at 9:19 pm

    That sounds promising. Good luck, Eric.

  2. Tue 19th Aug 2008 at 8:25 am


    Good luck, old friend.

    As I used to say (heh, I still do), if I had the chance to practice law again or begin life anew stripped naked, broke, and alone under a cold bridge with rain pouring down, I would take the latter. Even if the windows were fixed.

    Gotta love what you do, and you will never work a day in your life. Unfortuanately, I “worked” for twelve years.

    But find the right place and balance, and all will be good. Find it.


  3. Tue 19th Aug 2008 at 10:35 am

    Best of luck in the new digs.

  4. Randy
    Tue 19th Aug 2008 at 11:05 am

    It appears that you have found a very good answer for your situation. Having support services and resources is great but it usually results in a loss of independance. I myself have done the big corporate legal thing as well as the small office and I’ve got to say that I prefer the independance of the small office operation with smaller, but adequate, support. Looks like you’ll have the best of both worlds with this move. Best of luck.


  5. Tue 19th Aug 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Sounds like a good deal. Flex space and photocopiers are good things. I hope this turns out well for you.

  6. Lanny Thomas Tanton
    Tue 19th Aug 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Dear Eric,

    I rejoice to hear your good news, especially after the difficult affair of suffering a break-in. Congratulations on you new venture. I hope that it is all that you want it to be and that you will be able to continue your work on the Gettysburg Campaign.

    Best wishes always,

  7. Bill Satterlee
    Tue 19th Aug 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Good luck on the move. I have been wondering how you were doing after the break-in.

    Thanks for the update.

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