General Practice, Solo & Small-Firm Newsletter

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GPSSF Leadership from left to right: Peter T. Elikann, chair, Law office of Peter T. Elikann, Boston (left) and John B. DiSciullo, vice chair, Mitchell & Desimone, Boston (right).

Message from GPSSF leadership

Although the General Practice Solo & Small-Firm Section has had its most active and ambitious year ever in this, its fourth year of existence, much of the hard work finally came to fruition this spring.

Thanks to the efforts of Tom Barber and Brigid Mitchell, our series of statewide outreach programs for attorneys, many who are not even yet members of the Massachusetts bar, got underway with the first one in Springfield in March. The program is a primer on Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) where a lawyer can represent a client for just one segment of a case instead of participating from beginning to end. These open meetings, featuring at least one experienced LAR practitioner and a judge, are free to all attorneys interested in learning more about LAR and how they and the public community can benefit from this experience. The LAR is now being taken on the road as it criss-crosses the state with presentations already scheduled for April 28 in Brockton at the courthouse; at the MBA Centennial Conference in Boston on May 18; and a training session in Barnstable at the Probate and Family Courthouse on May 25. More of our LAR outreach open meetings will be scheduled for early fall.

Our main project of the year-the GP Solo Symposium: Strategies for Success 2011 held on March 31 was a smash hit. It was so successful that it is hoped it will go down in history as the first of what will be an annual symposium from now on. It was a particularly fast-paced program addressing the needs and concerns of practitioners in small firms or out there solo. Credit goes to its main organizers-Alan Klevan; Rodney Dowell; Scott Goldberg; and John DiSciullo.

The program, which attracted a particularly nice-sized audience, was marked by the exceptional quality of its speakers who were remarkably compelling, inspirational and informative.

It got underway with seven 20-minute sessions of pointers by the pros: Alan Klevan spoke on how to market yourself in a bad economy; Robert Ambrogi on how to use social media to Promote your Practice; Gabriel Chong on how to create an effective referral network; Channing Migner on how to start your paperless office transition; Rodney Dowell on managing your time to increase productivity; Jay Shepherd, Jr. on pricing for a profitable practice; and Marc Breakstone on building a reputation: your foundation for success.

Next came an extraordinary program where the trio of Alan Klevan, Rodney Dowell and Robert Ambrogi gave a power point presentation called Sixty Sites in Sixty Minutes pointing out websites you may not have been aware of that every lawyer should know. It was a hilarious rapid-fire presentation.

The program ended with two 10-minute presentations called Perspectives on Success featuring former MBA President Warren Fitzgerald and Brigid Mitchell who was pitch-hitting for her boss, the other scheduled speaker, MBA President Denise Squillante, who was as disappointed as the rest of us by being unavoidably unable to attend.

As stated above, this is hoped to have been the groundbreaking first of what will be an annual symposium of the General Practice Solo & Small-Firm Section. To this end, a brain-storming session was held a week later at the GP Solo Section Council meeting to get off to an extremely early start and already plan next years second annual symposium.

It was suggested that, due to the success of this year's event, the program may be expanded from a half-day to a full day. This would allow for question and answer sessions. At some point during the symposium, it could also split into two tracks where some presentations for solo practitioners could be held in one part of the building while, at the same time, there could be presentations geared for lawyers in small firms. The portion of the program where perspectives on success were given by veteran heavyweights of the bar could be expanded from two speakers to, at least, a half dozen.

This would continue to fill an enormous need  for solo and small firm practitioners that is the current main reason for the very-needed existence of the General Practice Solo & Small-Firm Section Council-to continue to serve their interests in attempting to thrive in a very difficult period of time.

Peter T. Elikann, chair
John B. DiSciullo, vice chair
General Practice, Solo & Small-Firm Section Council


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