How Do I Decide Where to Locate My Law Office? Part 4

The 4 part series, How Do I Decide where to Locate My Law Office, winds up today. We’ve pursued the different types of law office arrangements and have been looking at the relative geographics. I hope that these articles help move you forward in the decision process. 

Small Town or Big CitySmall Town or Big City

With emerging technologies, lawyers do have a lot more flexibility in office placement. If you have a good internet connection and adequate broadband capacity, you might be able to practice almost as easily in the suburbs or in a small town as in a big city. Here are a few reasons you might choose to practice in a small town.

Usually the number of attorneys per capita will be significantly lower there, and the cost of living is lower, too. Lawyers I know in smaller towns describe a collegiality in the legal community that, sadly, seems to have largely vanished from the bigger cities. Many also report that experienced lawyers and judges took them under their wing to mentor them as they got started. With most law schools failing so miserably at actually teaching lawyers how to practice law, the opportunity to develop such relationships can be a significant benefit to someone setting up a practice straight out of school.

On the other hand, sometimes less populated communities can be rather closed to strangers. It may be important to have some family connections or a well-established sponsor there to open doors for you.

Most small town practitioners find it necessary to develop a general practice because their clients expect them to know how to handle everything, and there may not be enough business in any one concentration. If you like variety and aren’t afraid to venture into new territory, you can develop a fulfilling law practice. Rarely will you have the sense of working for an impersonal, uncaring corporation. You will witness first-hand how your services affect the lives and livelihoods of your clients.

Before you decide where to open your solo law practice, do your homework. Take advantage of the resources available to help you gather the facts. Attend your state or local bar conference and get to know lawyers from small towns or on the other side of the city. Ask them about their experience and for their advice. Be creative and keep your eyes open for emerging opportunities. It’s not your mother’s law practice out there today.

For the previous 3 posts in this series, follow these links: Attorney Demographics, Client Demographic Data, and Practice Focus.


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