Lynn Perry left big-firm life behind a little more than a year ago, drawn away from Thelen Reid & Priest by the promise of freedom in running her own practice. But like many new solos, she found that freedom had a price.

With just herself and a secretary in a small Greenbrae, Calif., office, she soon felt overwhelmed putting in 14 hours a day. Clients came in the door faster than she had expected, but the resulting administrative tasks — like running bills and managing huge filing and docketing systems — left her even less time to serve them.

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