A classic study of solo lawyers in Chicago from 1962, Jerome Carlinl's Lawyers on Their Own, The Solo Practitioner in an Urban Setting, gained such a following that it was republished in 1994. Now it has been been "remastered" and reissued for our times, when the turbulence in the economics of the profession is forcing more and more lawyers into involuntary solo practice. It's available both in paperback and as an e-book.
From an introduction by Golden State University's William Gallagher:
The world Carlin depicts in Lawyers on Their Own is at times strange, almost shocking, and certainly does not comport with an idealized image of lawyers constituting an independent and learned profession. The solo, urban, and largely ethnic practitioners in Carlin’s study have a marginal professional existence at the bottom of the status hierarchy of the bar. Most of their law practices are generally not economically successful or emotionally satisfying, as these lawyers—due to economic necessity—have little ability to pick and choose the types of clients they will work for or the types of cases they will accept. The work these lawyers engage in often has little to do with the practice of law (or at least with a very high level of practice). It more often involves completing and filing routine standardized legal forms, referring clients to other attorneys (and thereby collecting “bare” referral fees without doing legal work for the client), and manipulating local governmental officials on a client’s behalf. As Carlin concludes, the lawyers he studied served more as “bookkeepers, brokers, or fixers” than as lawyers engaged in tasks requiring significant knowledge of the law, legal analysis, judgment, or creativity (Carlin 1994:207-209).