NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION APPROVES COMPREHENSIVE
PLAN TO HELP SOLO AND SMALL FIRM PRACTITIONERS
The New York State Bar Association released a new report outlining a
comprehensive plan to help solo and small firm practitioners – the
largest and fastest growing segment of its membership. The report,
authored by the Special Committee on Solo and Small Firm Practice, was
adopted by the House of Delegates, the decision- and policy-making body
of the Association, at its June 20 meeting in Cooperstown.
The Special Committee, chaired by Past President Robert L. Ostertag
(Ostertag O’Leary and Barrett, Poughkeepsie) and established in
August 2008 by Immediate Past President, Bernice K. Leber (Arent Fox
LLP, New York City), was charged with making a thorough study of the
issues and challenges that confront solo practitioners and small firms
in New York.
Committee members, working in four sub-committees, also reviewed the
quality, accessibility and level of awareness of existing State Bar
programs designed to assist solo practitioners and small firms.
They recommended new programs, benefits, resources and services that
should be developed to help these practitioners and their firms.
“One of my priorities over the next year as president is to make
sure the State Bar offers programs and services that are relevant and
helpful to our members, particularly as they struggle in these tough
economic times. With more than 64 percent of our members now
working in firms of 20 or fewer attorneys, these initiatives will bring
value to the growing majority of our membership,” said State Bar
President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore,
LLP, Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick, New York City).
“I want to thank Bernice Leber and Robert Ostertag for their
leadership on this critical issue.”
– to be implemented within two years
The State Bar Web site should
be redesigned to provide greater and easier access to solo and small
firm users, to offer a richer mix of information to assist these users,
and to enhance networking and communication opportunities. This
recommendation contemplates a greater use of listserves, blogs, social
networking opportunities and online continuing legal education
The State Bar should create a
permanent institutional home for solo and small firm practitioners
within the Association in the form of a coordinating council. This
council should include representation in key areas: the General Practice
Section, the Executive Committee, the Law Practice Management Committee,
the Membership Committee, the Continuing Legal Education Committee, the
Publications Department, as well as other sections and committees
offering programs and services for solos and small firms.
The council should work with
the Law Practice Management Committee to assemble an online bank of
forms and checklists and other online resources designed to assist solo
and small firm practitioners in their daily practice.
The Association should sponsor
an annual two-day Solo/Small Firm Practice Symposium beginning in June
2010 and each June thereafter to provide a showcase for educational
programs, as well as networking opportunities.
– to be implemented in three to five years
The State Bar should develop a
membership plan to increase and retain solo and small firm
Over the next three to five
years, the Association should increase the volume of educational
programs and publications targeted to solo and small firm practitioners
in print, live CLE and online formats.
– to be implemented after 2014
The State Bar should develop a
long-term strategic plan for supporting solo and small firm
practitioners. This strategic analysis should occur in 2014, following
implementation of the short- and mid-term recommendations in this
plan. The plan should be updated every five years
The Office of Court
Administration is requested to continue to work with the State Bar to
improve access to the courts for solo and small firm practitioners by
enhancing online systems for e-filing, calendar information, case
tracking, forms and access to court files.
For a full copy of the New York State Bar Association Special
Committee on Solo and Small Firm Practice’s report, go to www.nysba.org/SSFReport.
The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official
statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary
state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar
programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved
the justice system for more than 130 years.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993