Emerald City Solo

Seattle: "85 scenic square miles surrounded by reality."

Sunday, February 06, 2005

My Nemisis: Effective Time Use

I just sent the following message to a friend, which briefly explains my dilemma, and the steps I am proposing to conquer it.

"I need some help w/time management. I am floundering about on all fronts, spending lots of time procrastinating and not getting much done. Having struggled with this for a few years now (law school REALLY exacerbated the problem!) I figured that the most obvious starting place is with a schedule. I make these things, but NEVER live up to them. And, once I blow it, the rest of the schedule is shot to heck. I’m also not particularly reasonable in my expectations – either I keep a schedule perfectly, or I fail.

Would you be willing to serve over the next few weeks as an accountability partner in this? (They say it takes 3 weeks to make a habit.) Your role would likely be minimal, and I envision it going something like this: Initially, I would send you a quick evaluation as to what my time management goals are, and a short evaluation of what directions I need to be moving to get there. Then, daily, I would send you my schedule in the am, followed by my own evaluation of my success in the evening. You would not be required to comment unless you felt a mid-course correction was needed. (Of course, you would always be welcome to comment should you so desire!)..."

Friday, February 04, 2005

From Whence I've Come

Basic Stats:
  • Entered law school at thirtysomething.
  • Graduated from the UW in 2004
  • Took the Washington Bar Exam in July, 2004
  • Found out that I passed the bar October 9, 2004
  • Opened my practice November 15, 2004

My goal in starting this journal is to document my progress in building my solo practice, and in doing so encourge myself and others with my successes. I also want to create for myself a tool that I can use to identify and overcome my weaker areas. (If anybody else wants to learn from my mistakes, all the better!) Lastly, I want to draw a picture of a real, eminently (and imminently) fallible person who managed to build a successful law practice with very little relevant prior experience, connections, or capital!

I decided back in law school that I likely would go solo straight away. I have always wanted to open my own business, and I really am too independent to make a good employee, and thanks to the hazing process of 3 years of law school and the bar exam I finally had a license to start selling my services as an attorney. The fact that there are next to no jobs to be found was also a factor encouraging me to strike out on my own.

Back in school, I took a solo/small practicioner class. One of the assignments there was to create a business plan. I wrote a pretty good one, and while doing so had one of my weak areas highlighted: practice focus. Everything looks interesting...from immigration to personal injury to real estate! This lack of focus has been a key challenge to me for these first 2.5 months of practice, but I am starting to narrow it down. More on that later.

Once I found out that I had passed the @!#$%^ bar exam (and celebrated properly!), I looked around to see who wrote E&O (malpractice) policies, got quotes, and finally settled on CNA. My coverage was effective as of November 15, 2004. That morning, I sat down with my very first client, an incorporation that was referred to me by my husband.