I received an interesting submission to lawblogs.ca last night. Solo in Ontario: Criminal Practice is written by Bo Arfai, a 2008 call with the unenviable position of going solo post-articling. After a brief email conversation, I advised him to get some profile & contact information up on his blog, which should be in place shortly.
What I find interesting is that he’s blogging from a very human perspective. In a world where many of us consider both articling and the early years of practice in ‘big firm’ context, I have to think Bo’s immediate future & choices are a more common experience than we imagine. I think about how many students get hired back each year. Some years that percentage is high, but sometimes that number is scary low. The choice to leave, as in Bo’s case, can also be in the new lawyer’s hands. Either way, creating an opportunity for one’s future can’t be an easy task – especially for someone coming directly out of articling.
The topics that Bo is blogging about are also interesting. Should he practice virtually out of his home, or shack-up with a more senior lawyer? How to create the paperless office? Or his comments about facing the finality of leaving the firm where he’s articled, and the relationships he’s leaving behind.
I think we’re all struck on occasion about the brutal nature of law firms. While it is a business, and all businesses can be tough in this way, Student & Associate turnover rates are difficult to watch. Alumni programs are put in place to manage these former relationships, but the “In-or-Out of the pack” component has to take a toll. Moving forward in a positive way with one’s career after this type of experience must be a tough proposition.
I look at Bo’s blog and have to think: 1) his situation must happen all the time, and 2) if he keeps blogging with the passion he’s started with, there are a number of lawyers out there that might benefit from his documented experience. There might also be a criminal lawyer out there that gets to know him, routes a few files to get him started, or advises him along the way. Again, thinking outside the ‘big firm’ experience, how else would mentoring for a solo happen?