Doing, Not Waiting

Rural Law OfficeWhile the senior leadership of the Georgia Bar Association work on plans for a lawyer incubator (a small pilot program) and a rural lawyer assistance plan (now in the hands of the state legislature), the bar’s Young Lawyers Division have launched the Succession Planning Pilot Program with the idea of matching successful, practicing, small city or rural lawyers with young lawyers and recent graduates looking for positions.

The program leverages existing resources available at the state’s law school’s career services and addresses two of the chief concerns of a fledgling rural lawyer – the lack of mentors and the need to develop a sustainable practice – while giving established rural lawyers a pipeline of interested, qualified successors.

A Rural Lawyer tip of the hat to small town lawyer Sharon Edenfield for bringing this idea to fruition.

Weights and Measures

From the Rural Lawyering 101 videos:

This particular clip was the result of a bit of serendipity; I had recently been in an e-mail conversation with a pre-law student interested in eventually starting a rural practice and how one might choose a suitable law school to achieve this laudable goal.

Out Standing in the Field – Rural Lawyers in the News

In “Is Bigger Always Better?“, attorney Michael C. Larson talks about the pull to come home to the small town law practice his great-grandfather started in spite of the occasional law school daydream of a big law career. For Mr. Larson, bigger was not better, it is the little things, the personal connection to his work and to his clients that make his career fulfilling – as he puts it: “There is something to say about being not only intellectually invested, but emotionally invested in your clientele.  I get to see first-hand the way I affect people’s lives.”

Corey Bruning discusses how he went from zero to his first jury trial in about 15 minutes in “Rural Practice Realized: A Success Story” – well, not quite in 15 minutes, there was a bit of set up before hand. Mr. Bruning is a second career attorney, Deputy State’s Attorney and partner in a small town (his hometown) law practice. As of this month, he’s six months into a law practice that covers everything from criminal prosecution to estate work, family law to business law and everything in between. Sounds like a typical rural law practice to me.

The RuralLawyer Book

Becoming A Rural Lawyer - A Personal Guide to Establishing a Small Town Practice by Bruce CameronWell, it’s official – Becoming a Rural Lawyer is here. Like RuralLawyer the blog, RuralLawyer the book is designed to help you decide if you’re meant to practice in the 128,000 small towns dotting the US landscape. Becoming a Rural Lawyer looks at the myths of practicing in small towns, discusses emerging areas of rural practice, talks about the rhythms and (unwritten) rules of small town life, and  includes advice, tips, and words of wisdom from rural lawyers from across the US.

Becoming a Rural Lawyer is available through (where I welcome your impressions of the book).

Dear Students, Caveat Emptor. Love, “Your” ABA

In her January 25 post, my friend and fellow blawger Susan Cartier Liebel asks “what obligation does the ABA owe to law students?” Susan’s post and the November 2009 report, The Value Proposition of Attending Law School by the ABA Commission on the Impact of the Economic Crises on the Profession and Legal Needs she mentions should be on every prospective law student’s must read list.

While I agree that the report should have wide distribution among prospective law students, I respectfully disagree with two of the post’s underlying assumptions: (a) that the ABA owes an obligation to prospective law students and (b) that the sole reason d’être for not quickly disseminating the report is simple greed. Continue reading Dear Students, Caveat Emptor. Love, “Your” ABA

SOS – Solo Out of School

Make voyages! – Attempt them! – there’s nothing else… (Tennessee Williams)

So, you are thinking of going solo right of school – great! Here’s some things to keep in mind:

  • If you can pass the bar exam, you are (or at least yourState Bar thinks you are) competent to practice law. Period, end of discussion. So never doubt that you are sufficiently prepared to go out there and commit random acts of lawyerism. That nagging doubt, that fear that sneaks up in the quite hours of the night does not feed on your lack of competence, it feeds on your lack of experience. The good news is that there’s a cure for that – time. Continue reading SOS – Solo Out of School

Solo Practice University: Mentorship For The Rural Lawyer

The harsh reality is that law school only teaches theory and, until recently, learning the actual practice of law was taught by that harsh task-master experience. For the new associate just entering an established law firm, experience’s lessons are tempered by the older and wiser partners, however for those of us who march to our own drumbeat as solo practitioners finding mentors can be a daunting task. On March 20th, 2009, this changes with the opening of Solo Practice University.

Solo Practice University is the brain child of Susan Cartier Liebel and stems from her frustration with the inability of law schools to cover the innumerable variables that are unique to the actual solo practice of law. Solo Practice University is an on-line community bringing law students and solo practitioners together with an  experienced, nationally recognized faculty. Continue reading Solo Practice University: Mentorship For The Rural Lawyer