Peer support comes in many forms, and one of them is on a professional/career level. Those lawyers who work in law firms have a kind of built-in professional support – if they’re stuck on a case, out of action because of a medical problem, falling down on the job, etc. – there are partners/associates around to notice and to fill in. Those in solo practice have no such back-up unless they find it on their own, and it’s generally a really good idea for them to “buddy up” with one or more colleagues.
Some of the potentially useful functions of your buddy (and of course, these functions are mutual and flow in both directions) are: ▪ someone with whom to brainstorm around business and career challenges; ▪ someone to offer an additional perspective on cases or tasks that present you with a sense of uncertainty; ▪ someone to take over for you in the event of illness or even death (see BBO article on this topic); ▪ someone to hold you accountable for following up on goals for improving your practice.
This last function for a buddy arises in LCL’s Solo Practitioners Group, for which we are about to have the last of six sessions on the subject of “Getting Things Done.” [We do plan another 6-session round of groups in the near future, probably on a different but related set of issues facing solo practitioners, and will likely return to getting-things-done at a later point; if interested, email me at DrJeff@LCLMA.org.]
Jeff Fortgang, PhD