Being your own boss is the dream of most people. But what happens for attorneys when it turns real? “Most of the time it’s very good,” Torrington, Conn., solo Peter C. Herbst says. “Sometimes it’s difficult, and occasionally it’s impossible.”

Solos and small practitioners have grown used to balancing the flexibility and freedom their jobs give them against the difficulties of having to be several places at once, and of competing against larger firms for qualified staff.