Any one who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind’s eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees any one whose vision is perplexed and weak, will not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether that soul of man has come out of the brighter light, and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the dark, or having turned from darkness to the day is dazzled by excess of light. — Plato, The Republic
There comes a point when a lawyer wishing to be solo has to come out to his colleagues, friends, and acquaintances. It is a rite of passage that all solos go though, and like all holy rituals is both a uniquely personal and private experience, and a common community bond.
At a recent meeting with a number of in-house corporate lawyers, I made my usual introduction during the inevitable round-the-table introductions and watched as the words “in solo practice” produced the expected awkward silence. It was a fleeting moment lasting for less than a breath, but that brief moment was sufficient to see the thought “some of my best friends are solos” pass through the minds of the other participants.
I am sure that it would be easier for them had I provided an explanation as to the reasoning behind this choice, but there is seldom time and no one ever asks. There is seldom time, because the actual reasoning behind my decision is too complex and personal to be easily translated into an elevator speech. I oft quip that I went to law school because, as far as midlife crisis go, it had a better risk/benefit analysis than the “mistress and Ferrari” option – which offers as much insight into my reasoning as an elevator speech would.
I walk an alternate path under a different sun and I should not be surprised when those unaccustomed to its light are dazzled and unaccustomed to its light.