One of the greatest Internet assets for solo and small firm lawyers is the Solosez listserv, operated by the ABA Standing Committee on Solo and Small Firm Practitioners. In a message to the list today, Reid Trautz and Jim Schwartz, two members of the Standing Committee, reported that a committee of the ABA Board of Governors has voted to delete all funding for the Standing Committee, threatening not only the committee but also the Solosez list. At the ABA annual meeting in Atlanta next month, if the board of governors ratifies the committee’s action, the Standing Committee will cease to exist.
Trautz and Schwartz write:
Without the Standing Committee, the future of Solosez may be at risk. While the General Practice Solo and Small Firm Section of the ABA has been asked to take over as the new home for certain Standing Committee activities including Solosez and the Breakfast Caucus, ABA funding of those projects and the independence of them still remain as potential impediments. Indeed, some will suggest a new, less political home for Solosez than its current home, but no other iteration, including the latest attempt this month, have succeeded to attain the depth and breadth of the current community that is Solosez now.
Further, the Standing Committee is more than just Solosez. The Standing Committee is the only voice within that ABA whose sole agenda is to speak for solo and small lawyers and be their voice within the ABA. Its mandate is to encourage solo and small firm attorneys to join the ABA by demonstrating the ABA provides a value added service to the solo and small firm legal community. But, others currently in control of the ABA’s budget have unilaterally decided to cut off funding to the Standing Committee, albeit underfunded now, and thus silencing that voice even though the great percentage of new members in the ABA in the past 10 years are solo and small firm practitioners and who have elected to not join the General Practice Section. Indeed, less than 50% of all self-identified solo and small firm practitioners are members of any ABA Section, lending further concern that those practitioners will have no organized voice to speak for them in the future.
The Standing Committee is requesting a show of support from all solo and small firm lawyers — especially those on Solosez. To facilitate this, they are asking solos to Click here, and then fill out the information requested. This will send a message (shown at the link) to 54 ABA leaders letting them know you support the Standing Committee.