July 2017

Letter from the Chair of the Forum

By Ashley Peterson

Attorney at Law

Dear Colleagues,

In the summer of 2015, I made the decision to open my own law office as a transactional real estate, business and probate lawyer. It was both exciting and terrifying at the same time, and kept me awake on many occasions contemplating if it was the right decision. My driving motivation to go solo was the fact that my personal experiences in law firms led me to realize that many law firm environments were stressful and some did not allow for a work-life harmonic balance. I felt the desire to want to handle clients in my own way. While working in a firm was an invaluable learning experience, it wasn’t the right fit for me.

In my own legal career and through my involvement with SDCBA, I have had the privilege of finding a handful of mentors and friends who have provided me with their advice, encouragement and guidance based on their own experiences as solo attorneys. When I was first considering going solo, I took many of them to lunch to get their perspective, and asked them the hard questions about what it takes to become an entrepreneur and start your own business. Every single one of them told me that it was going to be a lot of hard work, but that in the end, your success is based on the work you put in, and that the flexibility of running your own firm is priceless. I quickly learned that there was no senior partner to hold you accountable, and often times you feel like you are barely able to keep your head above water, but that ultimately I was comforted knowing that there are always people you can turn to in your time of need. I cannot begin to thank the handful of attorneys who I proudly call my friends, who helped me out with giving me contract work, advice and their time when I first opened my office; it meant more to me than they probably know. 

June marked the two-year anniversary of opening my own firm, and I can easily say that going solo was the best decision I ever made in my career. I am proud to be the owner of a successful law firm that continues to grow, and to be the attorney that my colleagues trust and refer their clients to. It is my desire to eventually grow my practice to add associate attorneys and staff, and to foster a work environment that defies the typical law firm mentality. I believe this can be achieved through proper mentoring and guidance of new attorneys, and was one of the reasons I wanted to be Chair of the Forum this year. 

The San Diego legal community is a family, and we are certainly lucky to be able to practice here with all the resources and networking opportunities that the San Diego County Bar Association and the Forum for Emerging Lawyers provides to both new and seasoned lawyers. 

We encourage everyone to attend our upcoming inaugural Barrister’s Ball: Moonlight Masquerade on August 26 at Bella Vista Social Club and Caffé. Tickets are on sale now. Hope to see you there!