Vivian Sobers, Virtual Office New York Lawyer: Is Panic the New Normal?

By Law Firm Suites - December 13, 2013
Vivian Sobers, Virtual Office New York Lawyer: Is Panic the New Normal?

This week in Young, Hungry & Committed, virtual office New York Lawyer, Vivian Sobers explores how feeling panicked isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a solo attorney.

I had an interesting conversation with a fellow solo attorney this week. Initially, I thought the only thing we had in common was the same business address. By the end of the conversation, I learned we share more than an address: We both have episodes of sheer panic about our practices.

Do any of you feel the same way?

In general, I am not a panic prone person. This has changed dramatically since I started my solo practice.

I am consistently worried about where I am going to get new clients. I freak out if a check doesn’t arrive when I expect it to. Worse, I constantly over-analyze my decisions. My clients have a lot on the line, and it’s my job to get the best results for them.  That’s a heavy burden, and I panic because I care.

Based on other conversations with solo attorneys, I discovered that my experience is not unique. As self-employed attorneys, we must learn to normalize the panic to do our jobs effectively.

I tried to get to the root of my panic.

After the conversation with my colleague, I did some soul-searching in my home office. I tried to sit still for at least a half-hour and get to the root of my panic issues. I got really bored of my own thoughts after about three minutes. I struggled to sit still. I guess

I would be really bad at meditation.

In order to avoid my panicked mind, I looked around the room.

virtual office new yorkJust so you know, my home office was originally located in one corner of my living room. As my practice has grown, the corner turned into most of the room.

In the beginning, it was extremely organized. Everything had a place. I did my best to separate work life from home life.

Keep in mind, I had the luxury of time then. I had just started my practice and didn’t have many clients.

In order to avoid my insecurities, about not having much legal work to do, I kept myself busy keeping things really tidy. It helped me feel like I was working hard.

Maybe panic is a natural thing for solo lawyers.

I have since learned from my colleagues that this is pretty common when you start a practice. But that busy solo lawyers (ones who are truly busy with client work), don’t have time to be uber-organizers, a functional organizer is good enough.

Sure enough, as my practice began to grow, I found myself less concerned about organization. For me, client retention and relations were more important than the pesky task of making sure my every file has a color-coded, pre-printed label. A pencil worked just as well.

Honestly, being super-organized was not making me any money. It was the clients that were paying, not the file folders.

So, as I sat in my living room I realized that my whole living room was my office. My work life had overtaken my personal space. In the frenzy to earn a living, I had lost the calming environment I had intended my home to be.

Of course, I panicked a little bit about that.

But I’m used to it by now.

My name is Vivian Sobers. I am young, hungry and getting used to panic. I have weathered one year of challenges in private practice. Despite the challenges that lie ahead, I am committed to replicating my success for many years to come.


Vivian Sobers is a commercial litigator pursuing a solo law practice right out of law school. She is a client in Law Firm Suites’ Virtual Office Program. Vivian’s weekly blog series “Young, Hungry and Committed” documents the trials and tribulations of a young attorney navigating her way through the challenging world of self-employed legal practice.

About Law Firm Suites

Law Firm Suites is the leading NYC shared office space for solo attorneys and small law firms. At Law Firm Suites, attorneys get headache free sublet office space, virtual office rentals and litigation hotel services. Law Firm Suites has two locations in Manhattan, one in White Plains NY, and one in Annapolis MD. Law Firm Suites' community of self-employed lawyers are eager to help colleagues succeed, and routinely exchange over $2.5 million in legal business every year in each LFS business center. Connect with Law Firm Suites on Twitter and .

2 thoughts on “Vivian Sobers, Virtual Office New York Lawyer: Is Panic the New Normal?

  1. Marianella Febres-Cordero
    on said:

    Very good article! I have known Vivian since she was a little girl and I am very proud of her. All of us that are self employed and have a business have the same panic, Vivian, the only thing I can say to you is: Yes you can! You can accomplish in life what you set out to do if you have the passion to do it and never give up! And I think you have that passion. Good luck Vivian!

  2. Stephen Furnari
    on said:

    After 13 years of being self-employed, the panic hasn’t gone away. In fact it gets a lot worse. As your practice grows, so will your financial commitments — so every year there’s greater risk and more at stake. The difference is, you’ll learn to live with it better (and be motivated by it).

    If you didn’t panic, that would be cause for concern.

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