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January 24, 2008

Going Solo; Confessions and Inspirations - Dawn Elaine Bowie

Going Solo; Confessions and Inspirations - Dawn Elaine Bowie

Attorney Bowie is a solo practitioner in Rockville, Maryland who was a non-trad law student, a mother with three children.  She is also a solo who caters to a very specific niche market, the divorcing father who is passionate about being a part of his childrens' lives and helps them before, during and after the dissolution process.  She is also the author of a remarkable piece, The Father's Bill of Rights, which reinforces the rights and obligations of fathers in this country.

Dawn Elaine Bowie

"For the past half year or more, I’ve been writing about why, how and what I do. All as part of my transformation from a run-of-the-mill divorce lawyer, to a solo who does what she loves representing fathers in custody cases. I’ve written about the same thing so often, in so many ways, that I find myself staring blankly at the computer screen trying to think of a new way to say what I’ve already said over and over. This is not a common experience for me. I write as reflexively as I breathe. So this may be a little less like all the promotional material I’ve put together over the past few months and more about what really drives me.

I am and have been for most of the time I’ve been in practice, a sole practitioner. I have to admit until very recently, I would have told you that the reason I’m a solo is because I had no other choice. There were tons of excuses: there weren’t enough jobs out there when I graduated from law school; the jobs there were didn’t pay enough for me to meet my expenses; the jobs that were out there were terrible, or not in my area of practice; I was too old; my law school grades weren’t good enough. By the time I’d have gotten done with the litany, it would have sounded as if I’m miserable being a solo. But in the past year or so, that has changed. A year ago, if some big firm in my area had approached me and said, “Hey, come join us, we’ll pay you six figures and give you a secretary and let you work 80 hours a week,” I might have taken them up on it. Now, I just can’t imagine it.

Why? Because I have done what I always dreamed of doing. I’ve become my own little boutique law firm of one. While I’m just getting started on my path to really making a success out of my narrow, little niche, I am confident that within a very short time, there will be no one in my area who can match what I do.

Over the past year, I’ve learned to mine my own strengths, both my legal abilities and my personal uniqueness. I genuinely care about my clients, I am responsive and communicative with them, my firm is rapidly developing into a cost-efficient, quality alternative to the pricier, bigger firms who are more frequently becoming my competitors. I’m beginning to gain recognition from folks in my legal community whose opinion matters to me. And I’m doing something on a larger scale that really does promote social justice and have the potential to change lives for the better. I’m doing it on my own time, my own schedule, in my own way. I’ve also learned to think in terms of myself as something separate and apart from what I do. Instead of, “I am a lawyer,” I’ve learned to say, “I practice law.” I don’t see what I do as an entitlement, or a right (albeit one I’ve earned) but as a privilege to serve others and to be able to learn new things every day. That perspective is the core of my work. It is something that makes me unique and it’s something my clients appreciate. It’s also something that probably wouldn’t translate very well to another firm.

So now, when I think about a job offer from Dicker, Dicker & Delay, L.L.C. down on Wisconsin Avenue, it doesn’t take more than about ten seconds for me to think, “Nope. Don’t think so.”

Dawn Elaine Bowie, Esq.

Maryland Family Law Firm
932 Hungerford Drive, Suite 13
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Tel: (301) 340-1050
FAX: (240) 556-0252
Website: http://www.marylandfamilylawfirm.com

Blog: http://www.marylandfathersrights.com

"Protecting Father's Rights is the Best Way to Protect Children's Rights."


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Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing your experience.


I'm about to start my own practice in Austin. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement! Going solo gives the best chance of having a really special career as a lawyer, IMHO.

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