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Benchmarks: Journal of the New York State Unified Court System

Winter 2006

Report on Solo and Small Firm Practice

More than 83 percent of New York attorneys are solo practitioners, while another 14.7 percent work in offices of fewer than 10 attorneys. Charged with identifying ways that the court system can better support the unique needs of these solo and small firm practitioners, a 30-member commission issued a report in February that makes
numerous recommendations to improve the practice of law for the vast majority of the New York bar.

The Committee to Examine Solo and Small Firm Practice, chaired by Rochester solo practitioner June Castellano, looked at issues such as case-processing and calendaring, court rules, technology and attorney professionalism, as well as the most basic issues of law office economics.

Many of its recommendations focus on the solo practitioner's most precious commodity - time.

The report recommends using staggered calendaring for motions and pre-trial conferences where appropriate; promoting the use of teleconferencing and videoconferencing; and adopting uniform standards for filing by electronic means. Another recommendation would allow attorneys to communicate with courts by email for certain information. On a practical level, the report suggests that every courthouse provide space where attorneys can work, with computers and both plug-in and wireless Internet service.

Many measures involve maximizing the use of the courts' Web site and online documents, such as the ability to download conference forms, returnable by fax or email; the creation of an online database of common litigation and estate documents that can be downloaded in English and Spanish; and the posting of local rules and filing procedures as well as court directories.

In addition, the commission endorsed the expansion of summary jury trials and other initiatives that keep litigation costs down.

The commission also proposed that a task force be created to look at the availability and affordability of malpractice insurance, as well as a commission on attorney-advertising.

The report is available at: www.nycourts.gov/reports.

Winter 2006 PDF Format
HTML Version:

State of the Judiciary Judicial Elections Report Summary Jury Trials Indigent Defense Services Multi-Hat Judge Matrimonial Commission Solo & Small Firm Practice Office of Self-Represented National Adoption Day Court Reporters Listening Conference Construction Update Historic Courthouses and Trials Did You Know? Judicial Institute Calendar UCS Katrina Fund Update Black History Month

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Web page updated: September 1, 2006 - www.NYCOURTS.gov