2019 Solo Summit


Success as a small firm or solo practitioner takes a unique blend of technical knowledge and business savvy.

The MSBA Solo Summit is designed to bring you up to speed on the skills and strategies that will give you an edge. Meet other attorneys and share insights on technology, marketing, and management strategies that will raise your practice to great heights.


  • START YOUR PRACTICE –  Starting a Law Firm Basics, Accounting 101 for Lawyers, Disaster Planning and more
  • RUN YOUR PRACTICE – Practical MDEC training, Legal Research on a Budget, Health & Wellness for Solo Attorneys and more
  • GROW YOUR PRACTICE – Digital Marketing, Guide for Hiring New Employees, Evaluating potential clients and more


8:00-8:30am:  Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:30am:  

Start:  Basics to Starting a Law Firm – In this session, learn about the basics to starting a law firm including entity choice, business planning, office considerations, technology needs, and resources for how to to land your first clients.  Speakers:  Kathleen Hyland, Esq.

Run:  MDEC in Criminal Law Cases – A practical demonstration from entering your appearance to handling Motions and other Court filings.  We will be dealing with criminal and traffic matters, in both District and Circuit Court. The goal of this session is to explain how to use the efiling system and what to expect in real time.  Speakers:  Susan Land, Esq., Valerie Nowottnick, ACP, and Katherine Hager

Grow:  Beyond the Bits, Bytes, and Blogs – Building on the success of his popular presentation at the MSBA Legal Summit & Annual Meeting, solo practitioner and host of the popular legal podcast, The Law Entrepreneur, Neil Tyra will take his audience to the next level concerning digital marketing for solo and small firm practitioners. Of course it’s important for solos to have a website, a blog, social media accounts, and other digital marketing tools in their arsenal. But how do you make them work together to leverage such technology so that your firm can compete effectively in the marketplace without costing you a fortune or ruining your health?  Speaker:  Neil W. Tyra, Esq.

9:40 – 10:40am

Start:  Accounting 101 for Lawyers:  This session will provide an overview accounting practices for law firms, including a review of impacts of entity selection, tax planning, accounting systems, and IOLTA accounting.  Speaker:  John Pontius, Esq.

Run: MDEC in Civil Matters – A practical demonstration from opening a new case to conclusions.  We will be highlighting various types of civil cases, and their nuances.  The goal of this session is to explain how to use the efiling system and what to expect, in real time.  Speakers:  Susan Land, Esq., Valerie Nowottnick, ACP, and Katherine Hager

Grow:  Six High-Impact Interview Strategies for Solo & Small Law Firms – Six High-Impact Interview Strategies for Solo & Small law Firms

Is your law firm looking to expand by hiring an associate, paralegal, or legal assistant?  If so, learn how to hire your next rock star by learning about these six high-impact interview strategies:

  1. Define Hiring Objectives
  2. Be Prepared
  3. Interview Like a Pro
  4. Standard Interview Questions
  5. Listen by Using the 20/80 Rule
  6. Behavioral-Based Interview Questions

Speaker:  Randi Lewis, Managing Director – Law Firm Practice, Major, Lindsey & Africa

10:50am – 11:50am

Start:  Lessons from the Legal Frontline: Must-Have Resources That Support & Sustain New, Small Law FirmsMany small-firm and solo attorneys are spread thin, with limited resources — we’re talking about time, energy, and money. How can you run a professional, productive, and profitable law firm on your own? With dependable and affordable tools and talent, that’s how!

Maddy will equip you with recommendations for services, software, processes, and support systems that set you up for a successful and sustainable law practice, from the start — whether you plan to remain solo or significantly expand your firm.  Speaker:  Maddy Martin, Smith.ai

Run:  Low-Cost Legal Research Is NOT a Game of Chance – When you place your bet with a court law librarian, you are betting on a sure thing. This session will highlight in-person and online services Maryland court law libraries offer attorneys. You will learn about cost-effective legal research techniques and what resources you can access fast and free (or almost free).

This session will cover:

  • Making the most of Google Scholar for case search research
  • Offbeat ways to use MDEC filings, MDLANREC, and SDAT’s real estate and property searches
  • Reliable ways to quickly find a statute or rule
  • How to keep current with new case law and legal trends
  • Troubleshooting MDEC deficiencies  
  • Reliable sources for forms
  • Short-cuts to discovering legislative history
  • Making the most of your court law library

Speakers:  Law Librarians Mary Jo Lazun (Charles County), Sandy Brewer (Howard County), and Julia Viets (Montgomery County)

Grow:  Employment Law Basics You Need to Know as a Law Firm Owner – This session will cover topics you need to know when hiring employees including:  proper classification of employees, resources for payroll and employee handbooks, and Maryland Laws related to employee leave and discrimination.  Speakers:  Neil Lebowtiz, Esq.

12:00pm – 1:00pm:  Lunch/Announcements

1:10pm – 2:10pm

Start:  Running a Risk Averse Firm – Learn about the risks of running a law firm including Client Management, Accounting, Marketing and your own limitations as an attorney.  Get practical advice on best practices to avoid violations, and get informed on the grievance process and professional liability insurance just in case. Speaker:  Irwin R. Kramer, Esq.

Run:  Donuts to Dollars: Tighten your belt where it counts. Increasing firm profits with the use of wellness plans, remote working options and everyday technology for the solo, small & general practice firm.

Part 1. Getting informed. Prevent loss before it happens. Identifying signs of burnout, substance abuse and other mental or emotional areas of difficulty.

Part 2. Staying informed. Employers interested in implementing an employee wellness program (or adjusting their current design) should familiarize themselves with the three key wellness laws: the Department of Labor’s wellness program regulations under HIPAA, the EEOC’s wellness program regulations under the ADA, and the Internal Revenue Code’s taxation of employer-paid benefits.

Part 3. Spreading the word. Practices for creating a healthier law firm culture, healthier practitioners, and most importantly a healthier you. Enjoy a run-down of the top 20 mobile and desktop apps to start using and sharing with others today.  Speaker:  Sahmra A. Stevenson, Esq.

Grow:  Legal Marketing Ethics – What You Need to Know to Grow Your Law Firm – Want best practices for law firm marketing (that take your ethical obligations as a lawyer into consideration)? We cover everything from industry trends to a deep-dive into practical tips and tools that will help you grow your firm. Join us to learn:

  • The state of law firm marketing and common mistakes
  • The ethics and rules related to law firm marketing and client communication
  • How automation and marketing tools can streamline client intake, and help reduce potential for malpractice
  • How to create a marketing funnel that generates more revenue for your firm.

2:20pm -3:20pm

Start:  Disaster Planning – Attendees will learn about the types of disasters that could face any solo or small firm attorney
at any time, and planning techniques to help avoid disaster or mitigate disaster if it strikes.
Speaker: Lydia Lawless, Bar Counsel, Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission

Run:  Technology Tools to Improve Office Efficiency – The session will explore several technology tools you can use to speed up your administrative work; effectively back up and secure your work product; and enhance your productivity.  Speakers:  Dave Pantzer, Esq., PBRC, Lee Sampson, People’s Law Library, and Shawn Levin, Avid Practice.

Grow:  Alternative Careers for Lawyers Panel – Hear from a four legal professionals that have found new paths to success!  Learn how they utilized their J.D. and other skills to branch out of traditional legal roles, and build successful careers.  Panelists:  Randi Lewis (legal recruiter), Tatia Gordon-Troy (legal writer/publisher),  Aquanetta Betts (ED Planned Giving), Joanna Wynes (Settlement Planner) Moderator:  Susan Francis, Esq, Executive Director, MVLS

3:30pm – 4:30pm:  Networking Happy Hour


Thank you to our exhibitors and sponsors:

ABA Retirement Funds Program
Ace Investigations, Inc.
CosmoLex Cloud, LLC
Fletcher Digital
The Gift of Planning
International Workplace Group
Maryland Healthcare Clinics/Capital Healthcare Clinics
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual
Paralegal Consultants, LLC
RyTech, LLC
Smith.ai Virtual Receptionists & Web Chat
University of Baltimore School of Law
USI Affinity
Weil, Ackman, Baylin & Coleman, P.A



Earn up to 5 credits.  CLE staff and forms will be provided onsite.

Live! Casino and Hotel
7002 Arundel Mills Cir
Hanover, MD 21076 US
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Event Information
Nov 8, 2019
8:00 am - 4:30 pm EDT
Live! Casino and Hotel
7002 Arundel Mills Cir
Hanover, MD 21076 US


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2019 Solo Summit