“You’re so lucky you work for yourself; you don’t have to work with people like [fill in the blank].” I hear this often from friends in midsize and large firms. I explain that solo practice involves oceans of work and risk and that my wistful friends enjoy advantages working within a group that I envy sometimes. But in my heart, I know they’re right: Part of what makes solo practice worthwhile is getting to avoid some of the people who can drain all the fun out of practicing law.

“The Five People You Meet in Heaven” is a best-selling novel by Mitch Albom in which the protagonist dies and goes to heaven, where he is introduced to an assortment of people who each provide a lesson about life. Not that solo practice is heaven, but this column uses Albom’s idea (turns it on its head, actually) and introduces four types of unpleasant people a solo gets to avoid by practicing law alone. Some solos might say these folks are a big part of why they chose solo practice in the first place.

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