Friday, August 10, 2012

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

This post is for attorneys dealing with advanced stages of breast cancer who are in solo practice.  I am nearing the end of the year of active treatment for a case of inflammatory breast cancer.  Despite the ABA's breast cancer initiative, I unsucessfully searched and searched for information on solo practitioners who had faced this kind of an aggressive or advanced stage cancer, because I did not know what to do.  Presently, I'm looking at being able to gear back up to a full time effort as a solo.  Here are a few things I wish to share.

1)  It is very helpful from a peace of mind perspective to have an assisting attorney in place.  I had already done this succession planning months before the diagnosis.

2)  Check with your malpractice carrier to review the provisions of your policy as to what type of coverage you have if you are disabled or die.  I was pleasantly surprised by the options available to  me.

3)  If you know a solo practitioner who is or was a guardsman or reservist, ask for their advice.  My local bar president has been through multiple career interrupting deployments.  The chat with him was one of the best and most encouraging moments I had.

4)  Decide whether it is important to you to continue working as close to full time as possible, or, whether you want to reduce your practice load.  I did talk  to another attorney who had worked full time in a small practice setting with another form of aggressive breast cancer.  I chose to draw way down to under 25% of my case load.  This was a glide rather than an abrupt halt.

5)  Work with your vendors during the cash flow valleys, they are willing to help.

6)  Choose cancer care providers who have the ability to provide care when it fits into your schedule and not theirs, even if this means you must travel a significant distance.

7)  Find out what your state's unemployment laws are, as there may be provisions which assist you in laying off staff in such a way that they are available for rehire.

8)  Understand that cancer is a mental game as much as a physical game.  There are also important spiritual development phases to survivorship as well.

9)  Take help when it is offered, and, thank those who share their survival stories.

10)  Rest assured your business will come back if you want it to.

I hope there is someone out there that this helps.  You can do it.

Original post edited to correct spelling and grammar.

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