Opportunity in the Night Sky

Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is everything – Henri Poincare

When last I ruminated on the definition of “rural lawyer” (see: What is a Rural Lawyer) I talked about practicing beyond suburbia’s sprawl as an adaptive specialist. Which, as far as that particular rumination goes, seems a fair description of the beast. However, it does seem incomplete, for there are those who choose to locate on suburbia’s edge but direct their efforts outwards into the void rather than inwards toward the city center. So, perhaps it would be more complete to describe the rural lawyer as one who sees opportunity in the dark of the night sky.

2000 Census "Night Sky" Map of Population Distribution

2000 Census - Population Distribution - Night Sky

The night sky shows us where the population concentrations (and presumably the lawyer concentrations) are. Rural areas are those dim, isolated stars and the surrounding black void – for the black is not a desolate wasteland devoid human population, but is an area of diffuse population. Think of it this way – there are 490 potential clients per lawyer in New York (20.4 lawyers per 10,000 people, 19,306,183 people) and 2,272 potential clients per lawyer in North Dakota (4.4 lawyers per 10,000 people, 635,867 people). Sure the numbers are crude and perhaps are not even representative, but they do illustrate that there is opportunity out there for the lawyer capable of dealing with the logistics of void.

2 thoughts on “Opportunity in the Night Sky

  1. I have been reading this blog for over a year but until today I have not replied. This particular post regarding opportunity in a rural place, however, offered me an excellent chance to ask a nagging question. How can I support myself financially and become a rural lawyer at the same time? After some contemplation, I have concluded that when law school finally ends, and I hear it does end, there will be two competing interests (1) my desire to be a rural lawyer and (2) the need pay school loans. My wife works and therefore the second income will allow us to pay off school loans quickly if we are frugal. However, starting a solo practice still seems out of reach for the first four or five years out of law school. Does enough opportunity exist outside the lighted areas on the map to support a debt burdened law school graduate? Intuition and advice from professors tell me that I should hunker down at the PD’s or Prosecutor’s office for a time. That advice seems solid but I am not yet willing to succumb so quickly! Thanks for letting me bend your ear awhile.

  2. Pingback: The Rural Lawyer’s Imperative « Rural Lawyer

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