CERLP | Bryant Garth & Joyce Sterling, "The Two Hemispheres of Solo Practice: Entrepreneurial Paths with and without Corporate Legal Capital"

Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 5:00pm to 6:15pm

Virtual Event

The UCI Law Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession welcomes Bryant Garth, Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus at UCI Law, and Joyce Sterling, Professor Emerita at University of Denver College of Law, to present their paper, "The Two Hemispheres of Solo Practice: Entrepreneurial Paths with and without Corporate Legal Capital."

Our goals in this paper are three-fold. First, we wish to provide a basic picture from the After the JD (AJD) project of the make-up of the solo practice setting. Second, we want to show that solos themselves are both united and divided as a practice group—united by their entrepreneurialism, embrace of technology, and lack of fit within the law firms where many started, and divided between the two basic career paths that reproduce the classic hemispheres of Heinz and Laumann. Third, we wish to highlight that practitioners following both paths are focal points for change in the legal profession: they find new niches, constituencies, and practice settings out of their own initiative.

We proceed in four parts after a brief introduction. The first part reviews the relatively limited literature on solo practitioners. The second draws on the aggregate AJD data to portray the typical solo practitioner in the data base. The third part then uses the qualitative interviews to illustrate the lawyers who map to the typical solo practitioners. Prior to the conclusion, the fourth part depicts a set of solo practitioners that do not figure in the literature. They are products of a new world of corporate law firms, and take their contacts, expertise, and symbolic capital to thrive in the same space as boutique law firms.

About the Authors
Joyce Sterling is Professor Emeriti of Legal Ethics and the Legal Profession at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She has devoted more than two decades to the study of the legal profession and legal education. Her recent research has focused on the problems facing women in legal careers compared to their male counterparts and issues associated with the downturn in legal education. Professor Sterling has recently served as Advisory Council/Senior Researcher to the ABA Presidential Initiative on Achieving Long-Term Careers for Women in Law. Since 1997, Professor Sterling has been one of the co-principal investigators on the “After the JD” study, the first national, longitudinal study of careers of lawyers in the U.S., and is currently working on the collaborative book focusing on the results of that study.

Bryant Garth is a Co-Director of the Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession and Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus at UCI Law. His scholarship focuses on the legal profession, the sociology of law, and globalization. Two of his books co-authored with Yves Dezalay, Dealing in Virtue (1996) and Asian Legal Revivals (2010), were given the Herbert Jacobs Award from the Law and Society Association as the best books in the field of Law and Society published that year. He also served as co-editor of the Journal of Legal Education from 2011-14. He has previously held administrative positions as Vice Dean at UCI Law, Dean of Southwestern Law School, Dean of Indiana University Bloomington School of law, and Director of the American Bar Foundation.

To request reasonable accommodations for a disability, please email centers@law.uci.edu

Event Type



Students, Alumni, General Public, Faculty, Staff

Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession, Centers
Google Calendar iCal Outlook

You're not going yet!

This event requires registration.