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Solo and Small Firm

FAQs

1. What is the Solo & Small Firm Section?

Our Mission is to foster a supportive community for solo and small firm practitioners across all areas of practice, to guide our members on their path to becoming strong, competent and ethical solo and small firm business owners, and to recognize the accomplishments of solos and small firm professionals across the state.

2. How do I join the Solo & Small Firm Section?

When you join California Lawyers Association for $95, you receive one free Section selection. You can add-on as many Sections as you like.

Anyone who is active or inactive and in good standing of The State Bar of California can be a regular member of the Solo & Small Firm Section, including registered in-house counsel, full-time law professors based in California, or a judge of the court of record in California.

The Section also welcomes Affiliate members, which is anyone not identified above.

3. What can membership in the Solo and Small Firm section do for my practice?

The SSF section is committed to helping solo and small firm attorneys like you grow and refine their practices using the best practices available.  As a section member you have access to a network of experienced members who can provide mentorship and guidance for almost any practice or substantive question you may have. Our events provide an excellent opportunity for networking with attorneys from across the state, resulting often in new friendships and new referral partners.

4. What is the Solo & Small Firm Executive Committee?

The Section shall be administered by an Executive Committee.  The Executive Committee shall assist the Association Board in matters relating to the Section and all other matters referred to the Executive Committee by the Association Board.  The Executive Committee shall supervise and direct the affairs and policies of the Section, in accordance with the Association’s Bylaws and subject to the oversight of the Association Board.  The Executive Committee shall consist of a minimum of five (5) members and a maximum of nineteen (19) members elected by the incumbent members of the Executive Committee.  The term to be served is three (3) years. A member’s term of office may be extended to serve as an officer in a fourth year, or as Chair, Chair-Elect in a fifth year, or as Chair in a sixth year.  In addition to active members, the Chair may appoint up to ten (10) nonvoting Advisors for a one (1) year appointment.

The Executive Committee meets throughout the year in locations across the state. Travel is reimbursed according to the CLA travel policy.

5. How do I join the Solo & Small Firm Executive Committee?

Each year before March 1, applications open for appointment to the Section. Self-nominations are acceptable. The requirements to apply are:

  • Must be a current regular member of CLA in good standing;
  • Must be a solo or small firm practitioner (defined as a law firm with five (5) or fewer attorneys.

Applications and appointment policies and procedures can be found here.

6. How much time will I need to spend as a member of ExComm/Subcommittee?

As a member of ExComm, your time commitment is approximately a few hours a month, excluding travel.  ExComm meetings are held alternatively in Northern California in Sacramento or San Francisco or in Southern California in San Diego or Los Angeles.  If you take on an officer level role or head a committee, your commitment will be more hours per month.  Rarely is the commitment more than 10-15 hours a month total. Our ExComm and Subcommittee members are dedicated to helping SSF section members have the most successful practices that they can and are dedicated to that mission through their involvement with the section.

7. How can I get involved with the Solo & Small Firm Section?

Besides applying to be on the Solo & Small Firm Executive Committee, there are many other ways to get involved including:

Presenting for the Section-The Section is always looking for members to present at in-person programming as well as webinars. Please contact solo@calawyers.org to learn more or to submit a presentation idea.

Writing for the Section- The Section has two publications; 1) the Practitioner, which is the quarterly print magazine and 2) the Solo Advisor, which is the monthly e-newsletter. The Practitioner seeks articles which further the SSF Mission and are 1,500 to 5,000 words in length. The Solo Advisor seeks blog length articles on hot topics and bite-sized info to help them practice better.  Please contact solo@calawyers.org if you are interested in writing for either publication.

Join a Committee- The Section currently has the following committees which are open to the membership:

Education Committee: The Education Committee identifies and provides educational opportunities specific to SSF members (starting, managing, growing, & tech)to guide them on their path to becoming strong, competent and ethical solo and small firm business owners via webinars, in person MCLE and program vetting for CLA events. This committee also collaborates with other sections to provide the perspective of the SFF practitioner in practice-specific topics.

Awards Committee: The Awards Committee solicits and reviews candidates for the section’s attorney of the year award and new attorney award and provides a recommendation to the executive committee for selection. The honorees are recognized and celebrated annually at the Solo Summit.

Publications Committee: The Publications Committee provides information to the membership in the areas of education and recognition via the printed magazine, the Practitioner, and the electronic newsletter, the Solo Advisor. 

Diversity Outreach Committee: The Diversity Outreach Committee exists to create dialogue and partnership with diverse groups throughout the state that reflect the SSF membership. These relationships will help diversify our pipeline to leadership, honorees, and provide much needed opportunities for engagement with the following organizations:

  • Diversity bars– focus on outreach to state and local diversity and specialty bar associations.
  • LGBTQ+ – focus on outreach to state and local LGBTQ+ bar associations.
  • Women – focus on outreach to women’s state and local bar associations.
  • Law student- focus on outreach to California law schools.
  • Demographic (Rural Outreach) – focus on outreach to underserved attorneys/legal population in our section in lesser populated areas.

Sponsorship Committee: The Sponsorship Committee works to secure financial backing for the work done by the section, while also striving to provide our sponsors with visibility and credit for their support of the SSF Mission.

Community Service Committee: The Community Service Committee shows that small firms have big hearts and provides opportunities (at least one north and one south) for SSF members to give back to the community and have fun while doing it.

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