Nearly 150 Massachusetts attorneys attended "How to Start and
Run a Successful Solo or Small-Firm Practice" on Jan. 28 at
Lombardo's in Randolph. The MBA last presented this popular
full-day conference in 2007.
The nuts and bolts of launching one's own firm were covered.
Participants learned the mechanics of setting up a firm or solo
practice, the logistics of running it and best practices to
successfully market it.
The program faculty was led by conference co-chairs Marc L.
Breakstone and David W. White Jr. of Boston's Breakstone, White and
Gluck. White, a past president of the MBA, described attendees as
"enthusiastic" and mentioned that the conference was covered on
Twitter (#startandrun2010) as it took place.
Other featured faculty included attorneys William Bogaert,
Gabriel Cheong, Rodney Dowell, Andrea Goldman, Alan Klevan, B.J.
Krintzman and Denise Murphy, as well as MBA Insurance Agency
President Terence Welsh.
Following the day's educational offerings, attendees took
advantage of a reception sponsored by the MBA's General Practice,
Solo and Small Firm Section.
Cheong was an audience member when "How to Start and Run" was
offered in 2006. "I still have the book," he said. When preparing
for the 2010 conference as a member of its faculty, Cheong noted
that those three years have brought drastic changes.
"It's different," said Cheong, noting that it's increasingly
cheaper to establish one's own firm. "You can definitely open a
firm on a shoestring budget," unlike before. "If you want to start
a solo practice, anyone can do it; but, it is not for everybody,"
he added. Cheong was sworn in to the bar in 2007. On the day of his
admittance ceremony, he started his law practice.
Many less tech-savvy conference goers gained much from Cheong
and the other presenters. A variety of circumstances led them to
The "How to Start and Run" conference came highly recommended to
John Morrissey from past participants. After 17 years in a
Boston-based firm, Morrissey and three colleagues are opening a
small firm in Braintree. With his "fresh start," he thought it was
best to learn from the conference and "do it right."
Morrissey has found technology the hardest obstacle as he plans
for his small firm's opening in the coming months. So, he paid
close attention to the recommendations presented by Cheong,
Breakstone, White and others.
Morrissey, who lives in Hingham, cited work-life issues as the
driving force for the professional change. He is looking forward to
soon shedding his three-hour round-trip commute to and from Boston
in exchange for more time spent with his daughters, including
coaching his 11-year-old's softball team.
In addition to those attendees from the Boston area, the
conference drew participants from well beyond the Route 128 belt.
One such attorney was Vittorio Coppa, now with Coppa Law Group in
Holyoke. Coppa used to work for WestLaw and was interested in
attending this program to learn how to best continue to grow his
recently launched "virtual office." Coppa found the conference to
be a "very professional program that covered all areas in which I
had concerns or questions."
Specifically, Coppa paid close attention to the marketing
aspects of the program. He will be enlisting suggestions gained at
the conference as he applies his customer service skills honed at
WestLaw to build his law firm's client base in Western
In addition to practitioners, the event drew law students eager
to obtain a competitive advantage over their peers following
graduation. One such student was Sakib Khan, a third-year law
student at Boston College Law School, who will take the bar exam in
Khan explained that the conference addressed the "big mysteries"
of establishing one's own firm. Khan took careful notes on the
policy and regulatory portions of the conference, including the
segment that covered the new data privacy regulations. "I now know
what I need to be thinking about," said Khan.
Law student Ryan Menard also found the program to be "very
helpful, informative and practical." Menard attends Northeastern
University School of Law and will receive his law degree in