Today is a very good day. Today I get the special privilege of joining an online legal resource that I have admired for quite some time now. Today I am joining the faculty of Solo Practice University.
Solo Practice University (SPU) is an online community of lawyers engaged in solo practice and a portal for resources and services to support that effort. It has been in existence for almost three years, thriving and growing as the traditional legal practice market has withered and shrunk. There are hundreds of lessons on a myriad of topics related to solo legal practice. There is a lively blog. There are approximately 60 faculty and the site is closing in on 1,000 members. It serves as a means for earning CLE credits and as a resource for honing old skills and learning new skills. There is a social component built out from the profiles of members, with the ability to connect and converse with faculty and other students through a forum, groups, commenting, and private messaging. Members can also create their own blogs from SPU’s platform – making it easy for them to engage in Web 2.0 technologies to become outspoken authorities in their chosen area. Members also have access to a co-op of services and products, with healthy discounts on all sorts of practice-related products.
My historical rant about law school always includes a complaint about the near absence of meaningful practical training or resources for new lawyers. Similarly, there are few obvious resources for attorneys who are changing their practice and taking charge by going solo. There is a certain fear of the unknown that comes with such a change and most lawyers have no idea where to turn for needed support.
Founder Susan Cartier Liebel clearly saw the sea change in the legal market and stepped up to fill a major void — making a lot of solo lawyers a lot happier in the process. SPU is accessible on member’s schedule and is affordable and convenient. While I am not a solo practitioner, I am a do-it-yourself-er type and I am constantly looking for tools to help me get the job done my own way. SPU offers new lawyers and new solos a very effective set of tools to help them be the boss over all aspects of their business. For me, jumping into the SPU community and offering some of my own DIY tips is a no-brainer – my blog Advocate’s Studio is all about helping lawyers and other professionals become web DIY-ers and I am thrilled to be able to relate some of my own “trial and error” experience in the hope that someone else may be able to move their own practice along as a result.
So, what am I going to teach? Right now, technology and web resources will be my subject. The first series will be on Google – I will be featuring a variety of Google products that can be used to support a professional practice. The first course, the Google Overview, should be available shortly. From there, I will focus on each product in each course segment, with lots of tips about how to set up, use, and customize through other applications. I will also highlight relevant tricks and tips for getting the best results. There is a lot to talk about when it comes to Google – I may have some difficulty paring it down. But I will do my best 🙂
I am really looking forward to this new role and I can’t wait to get involved in such a great on-line professional community. Hope to see you over at SPU.