Last week, I had the privilege of attending and speaking at The Project for Attorney Retention’s (PAR) annual conference in Washington, D.C. There were attorneys from various practice areas from across the country in attendance and the event was a great success.
As I listened to managing partners and general counsel discuss the importance of having attorneys working on a flexible basis, including reduced hours, I had to take a moment to reflect over the last 11 years (April marks Counsel On Call’s 11-year anniversary). In our formative years during hundreds, if not thousands, of conversations, the questions I would invariably get, with all sincerity, were "Who would do this? Who does not want to be a partner?" I will always remember receiving one e-mail stating that I was ”crazy” and that I would fail as there is “only one way to practice law.”
I also remember meeting amazing attorneys who were made to feel they had no value because they opted out of the traditional path. Those attorneys kept me going.
At the PAR conference, it was clear that very talented attorneys now choose to practice in a “non-traditional” way, and the focus was on how the profession should embrace and encourage this choice. That’s certainly an initiative I’ve been and will continue to get behind. PAR has done an excellent job of bringing these issues to make real change happen and keep the conversations alive. Realizing that our “little” company isn’t so little anymore – and that our attorneys worked in 33 states for dozens of law firms and Fortune 100 and publicly traded companies in 2010 – serves as proof that more and more people are realizing that there is indeed more than one way to practice law. Today, so many talented attorneys choose to practice in what used to be thought of as a non-traditional manner.
What a difference a decade makes… and that difference is changing the profession for the better.