MoreLaw Minneapolis helps attorneys succeed.Law school taught you more than you may realize about your work habits.  Did you study alone or in groups?  Read at home or in the library?  Learn best by reading, discussing, or observing?  Prepare methodically in advance, or cram the night before the test?

Similar observations will help you choose a practice area that fits your temperament and work style.  For example, consider:

  • Hours – what time of day  are you most productive?  How well do you handle interruptions, emergencies and changes to your schedule?
  • Travel—do you enjoy it or endure it?
  • Location—Where’s your “thinking spot”?
  • Type of work—are you most comfortable presenting, listening, thinking, writing?
  • Working with colleagues—love it or hate it?  Extraverts get energy being with others, while introverts energize when alone.
  • Competition or collaboration—which motivates you most?
  • Clientele—are there people and problems that inspire you, or ones that turn you off?

Once you understand your work style, talking with a mentor can help you identify practice areas that fit.  For example:

  • Are you comfortable handling emotional clients with empathy and compassion?  These abilities are critical in family law, estate planning, and probate, among others.
  • Are you organized, yet able to work well with those who are less-organized?  Clients going through bankruptcy may need the help of someone like you.
  • Are you excited at the prospect of going to court?  Criminal defense, family, and personal injury lawyers have frequent stand-up opportunities.
  • Are you a night owl who can be accessible to clients 24/7?  This may be an asset in certain kinds of practices, for example criminal defense.
  • Are you turned on by collaboration rather than competition?  Transactional practice, mediation, or collaborative family law may be especially rewarding.
  • Are you inspired by a particular clientele, for example, children, the elderly, veterans, or workers in a particular industry?  You may be ideally suited to build a practice based on their needs.

When considering where to start a solo practice, your work style is an asset not to be wasted—finding a practice area that complements it, and avoiding ones that don’t, will help you work efficiently and sustainably with less friction in your personal life.

Experienced solos:  what makes your practice area a good fit for you?

By Karin Ciano

Image courtesy of pakorn /

Karin Ciano
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Karin Ciano

Attorney at Law at Karin Ciano Law
Karin Ciano is a former federal career clerk in solo practice who likes to meet good people, work on interesting cases, and get back into federal court whenever she can. She practices civil rights and employment law, and she is also a freelance attorney who assists other attorneys with putting their best foot forward in federal cases. She is also the Twin Cities director of Custom Counsel LLC, the freelance legal network, and one of the co-founders of the Minnesota Freelance Attorney Network.
Karin Ciano
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