"Solo practitioner walks into a bar" (sorry, no punchline) - 7 solo-types at bar functions

Posted on 02-26-2015 by
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No matter what kind of event you attend you are bound to see the same of types of people. Whether you are attending Comi-con or some inventor’s convention, you’ll find the same kind of people. Lawyers attend “Bar Seminars”, which draw a variety of lawyers. Solo practitioners will account for the majority of the crowd. Here are 7 types of solo practitioners you will find at bar functions according to Lawyerist:

1. The Just-Barely-Surviving

This is the most-common type of solo. These people are usually glued to their phone, waiting for the next paying client. They are typically making $40-65,000 before taxes, which is rarely enough to get by in many cities. Conversations with them will most likely involve deadbeat clients and underpaid assistants.

2. The Firefighter

These people are just like the just-barely surviving; they make about the same amount of money and are on their phone just as much. The difference comes in why they’re on their phones and the conversations they have. First, they’re usually on their phone talking about a task they forgot to do earlier. In terms of conversations you may face; just be prepared to hear about briefs that are due the next day or pulling all-nighters before hearings. These people tend to get interrupted a lot by their phone with tasks they must do now due to their lacking of any organization.

3. The Technophile

These can be spotted by looking at their “gear” and there is a variety of them. One is Apple Technophiles, which will bring their iPads to the event while Google Technophiles will bring their Google Glass.

One way to see if you are talking to one of them hand them your business card and see what they do with it. Chances are they will “scan” it with their smartphone or glasses and hand it back.

4.  The Braggart

These people tend to be the loudest in the room. When they tell stories, they’ll make every story sound like they’re a bigshot and every profitable case like a seven-figure law practice. They will also make it sound like they are close with judges. They may have met once, but in the conversation it’ll sound like they meet for drinks with them every week.

5. The Relentless Networker

These are easy to spot. Just look for the person carrying a stack of business cards in one hand and has her name badge carefully stuck to her right lapel (because a marketing guru said it is more visible there). Conversations with these people won’t last long, in fact it will last until they get your name and practice area and give you a business card.

6. The Clueless

These are the people you wonder how they have managed to survived. They have a good amount of experience, but have not seemed to learn anything. They’re nice as they ask you a lot of questions about your business. It will seem like they’re learning, but unfortunately they aren’t registering any of the information. Be careful giving them one of your business cards because you could become their new mentor without volunteering (or wanting to). You’re destined for frustration if you are a mentor for someone who can’t take advice.

7. The Potential Mentor

These are harder to find, but typically look for a group of two or three lawyers who are chatting together like familiar colleagues. They may be sharing stories, but they won’t sound like braggarts. They’ll be sharing, not bragging, in order to learn learning from each other.

When talking with them, don’t talk about yourself. Overall, just listen and maybe a couple questions here and there. Make sure to leave the conversation early enough so you don’t appear to be a hanger-on, but not before you ask the Potential Mentor if it would be all right if you called or visited her office sometime to learn more about her practice.

So are there any other stereotypes that you know of that were missed? Let me know of any new stereotypes you have experienced.

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