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How to Find Job Security as a Solo Attorney

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on December 03, 2015 12:01 PM

If you recently passed the bar exam, congratulations. Now welcome to the world of licensed-and-unemployed.

There isn't exactly blood out in the streets, but the numbers of attorneys out there without work is startling. Some new lawyers are hanging up their own shingles. But that market is hurting too. We can call it the natural ebb-and-flow of legal services demand, but those with faint hearts are looking for something more consistent. What's something you can do to survive? Go niche.

Technology March

There's really not much to be done about the relentless march of technology. 2015 has been billed by some as the Doomsday year for lawyers in the rising spectre of technology making all of us useless. Once, many lawyers cut their teeth on spending hours on writing complicated motions on pleading paper and charging clients by the hour. And hours they took. 

Today, judicial forms are pretty much standard in most computer programs. Technology is nothing new, it's just the pace that's scary. So, there's still hope that we don't have to go legal-luddite on technology and can find a way to make the technology work for us.

Niche Markets

There are a few places in the legal market that lawyers can still run to -- and thrive. The types of services that lawyers can provide and clients that can be served run the gamut.

We recently wrote a piece on unconventional areas of law practice. One of the highlights in that piece focused on John Fabiani's equine practice -- as in horse law. A portion of his practice is devoted to representing clients who buy, sell, and auction horses. Since this area of law is so unique, focused practice in this area almost guarantees that the limited number of potential clients will come across your solo name at least once. That has the effect of repetition marketing.

And some opine that technology has opened avenues of potential practice that previously never existed. Ten years ago, social media was a nascent technology niche. Now, entire industries revolve around it. In fact, if you're not on Facebook and the like, you're probably hurting yourself. Areas of law that revolve specifically around technology require that the practitioner dive into the nuts-and-bolts of technology and really embrace it. Of course, this can work for you or against you. It has all to do with your attitude. Either way, job security for solo attorneys can probably be found in interesting and sometimes morbid niches within the legal world.

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