Reflections of a Year Old Solo

Christopher G. Hill is lawyer and owner of the Richmond, VA firm, The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill, PC, a LEED AP.  Chris has been nominated and elected by his peers to Virginia’s Legal Elite in the Construction Law category on multiple occasions. He specializes in mechanic’s liens, contract review and consulting, occupational safety issues (VOSH and OSHA), and risk management for construction professionals.  Chris authors the Construction Law Musings blog where he discusses legal and policy issues relevant to construction professionals. You can follow him on Twitter at @constructionlaw.

The Advocate has also once again joined the Musings Guest Post Friday Brigade here.

[Ed. Note: It is always a treat when Chris visits the Studio! Thanks for the insightful post, my friend (and the tech props 🙂 ) and the opportunity to post at Musings. Making friends with people like you is really the “gold” to be found in on-line networking]

I’m baaaack! (OK, I couldn’t resist).  Seriously though, I’m thrilled to be back “cross posting” with Martha Sperry and getting to talk for a bit here at the Studio.

When Martha and I were talking about what to do on our next co-blogging adventure, I thought that I’d share my thoughts on solo practice now that I am almost a year into this grand adventure.  First of all, without folks like Martha (among others) this would not be half so fun or rewarding.  Second, I was asked to talk about tech in my practice (this is a tech/law blog after all!).

Let me start out by saying that many of the tools that I’ve found helpful were first introduced to me through the Advocate’s Studio.  Without many of these tools, my solo practice (and when I say solo, I mean that I’m the entire staff of my law firm) would not be half as productive or rewarding.  Many of them allow me some of the flexibility to set certain hours and hand with my family while still being productive and as stress free as law practice will allow (especially in the construction field these days!). 

Use of Web 2.0 (or is it 3.0 these days) for both marketing (whether through my construction blog, firm website, LinkedIn or other tools) and for practice management (through Clio) and backup (I use Backblaze, but there are several other options) helps me to breathe easy knowing that if I can find a web connection, I can find my documents or continue my marketing plans.  Frankly, I wonder how solos did it in the past.

While I have yet to join the IPhone or IPad craze, I take full advantage of my trusty blackberry to make sure I can stay in contact with clients (though I have had to train myself that not all e-mails need immediate response).  Google Apps keeps me in touch and up on the latest news, syncing relatively seamlessly with my Blackberry.  Whether I respond immediately or not, the ability to stay in touch is a great security blanket for one who does not have someone “back at the office” to field calls or find documents.

As far as filing, I am as paperless as possible.  My trusty Brother 7840W scanner/copier/fax coupled with the drop box functionality of Clio (the e-mail docs to matters function makes filing a snap) and Adobe Acrobat X keeps my desk at least relatively clean. 

In short (yes, I know, it’s too late for that), technology, particularly web based technology helps my solo practice run smoothly.  A strong mix of online tech and offline interaction can and does keep my practice growing and fun.

Thanks again to Martha for yet another opportunity to guest post here at the Studio and I welcome your comments.