Working as a Solo Attorney in a Small Town

by Melanie Fischer on August 1, 2017

As a solo attorney living and operating a law firm in a small town, you undoubtedly realize there are fewer attorneys within a 25-mile radius of you than there would be in, let’s say, the Denver Metropolitan area. Along with fewer law firms, there are also fewer people living in your vicinity. Everything is relative.

If you are a practicing attorney in a rural area, or if you are thinking of moving to a region that is sparsely populated, you have an excellent opportunity to become the region’s most well-known lawyer – especially if you are one of the only lawyers around.

Without question, being a solo attorney in a rural area presents a unique set of challenges. For example:

  • You might not be able to focus on a specific area of law because residents and business owners in your region might need legal assistance with a wide range of unrelated legal issues.
  • Residents living in a small town might not have as much money to spend on an attorney and therefore, you cannot charge the same rate that you could in a more urban area
  • It might be next to impossible collaborate with other attorneys (especially in person) when there are not many other attorneys nearby.
  • In person networking or getting together with other attorneys for social reasons may be a rare occurrence when you live and work in a small town without many other legal professionals.

On the other hand, living and working as a solo attorney in a rural area also presents quite a few unique opportunities. For example:

  • You might be asked by local residents and/or business owners for help with a wide variety of legal issues, so you will ultimately gain professional expertise on many legal topics instead of just a few specific legal areas.
  • The fee you can charge your clients for legal services might be lower in a rural area than it might have been in a metropolitan area, but your cost of living and business expenses will undoubtedly also be lower.
  • The internet and social media have made it quite easy to connect and collaborate with others in your professional field – you just might not be able to meet up with each other face-to-face on a regular basis.
  • There might not be a large group of legal professionals in town, but you will have plenty of opportunities to travel to out of town legal conventions. Or, you may choose to belong to professional associations that bring legal professionals together – even if you must travel to attend events.

One of the greatest things going for small town attorneys these days is modern technology. With reliable Wi-Fi and immediate access to information and people, working in a rural environment is not only do-able but can be viewed as enviable. The quality of life in a small town is very appealing to some attorneys who enjoy a more relaxed, down-home atmosphere for their personal and professional life.



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