Road Trip

The saying “Getting there is half the fun” became obsolete with the advent of commercial airlines. — Henry J. Tillman

The Rural Lawyer is hitting the road this week. My thanks to the South Dakota Bar for their gracious invitation to speak at their  Annual Meeting, I’ll be filling the dead space between the good speakers and the mid-afternoon break with my take on technology and marketing for the rural solo/small firm.

There is a lot to be said for travel – it’s broadening (though give the current state of the coach seats on commercial aircraft, I’d dispute that sentiment – though my hat’s off to the air crews; any one who can keep smiling after dealing with the hoi-polloi that generally occupies coach either is of a more pacific temperament than I or has access to some high quality mood stabilizers), it’s educational, it’s relaxing – but for the rural lawyer, travel is just part of the job.

While those charming wide open vistas of rural America are part of the attraction of small towns, they also mean that there is always going to be some distance between where you are and where you want to be – usually only a practice located in a county seat will find clients and courthouses in close proximity. So, the rural lawyer finds that reliable transportation and a good GPS are just as important as  form books, laptops, and practice manuals.

5 thoughts on “Road Trip

  1. I have been meaning to post on here and keep forgetting. Anyway, keep up the good work. I really enjoy reading your blog. I would have posted on your “Dear Joseph” post, but the comments are turned off. I am “Joseph” and I am still struggling with small town v. big town practice. I have started a law practice and I am getting most of my clients out on the Twin Cities metro, but I work out of my house most of the time. My house in the small town. I end up meeting people and networking in the small town for the most part. I like it. It feels genuine. I go to church in the small town, I just joined the Rotary Club in the small town, etc. I guess what I am trying to say is that I will continue to try and get work out of the big city because the work seems to be there; however, I’m also going to focus more on the small town because that is where my heart seems to be. The problem is that following your heart doesn’t always mean finding work. Or maybe I’m wrong?

  2. Bruce — Just wanted to thank you again for your informative and outstanding presentation at the SD State Bar Solo/Small Firm CLE in Rapid City, SD on June 20, 2012. I heard many comments that solos and small firm lawyers were excited about putting some of your ideas and suggestions into their practice.

    Hope you enjoyed the Wednesday evening Banquet and were able to take in some of the sights of Western South Dakota.

    If anyone needs a fanstastic and informative speaker for law related functions, I will definitely highly recommend you.

    Thank you again. If you and/or your family ever make it to the Black Hills of South Dakota, please stop by.

    Bob Morris
    SD Solo/Small Firm CLE Committee

  3. Joseph,

    Here on Rural Lawyer, there is a SOL on comments and for the “Dear Joseph” post the SOL has tolled. The SOL is there simply to limit the spam bots to the most recent posts in the faint hope that some day I will be able to write a post that cannot be tied in some fashion to ED medication, pornography, patent medicines, snake oil, get rich quick schemes, and the cure for male pattern baldness.

    As for following your heart and finding work, I believe that it is possible to do both; the only problem is that it often takes a great deal of hard work to connect the two. I, like many other second career rural attorneys, find myself practicing on the edge of suburbia – living in a small town, but working out of a larger one. There is some security in that; the big town clients help sustain the practice while making connections and building business in the rural areas. It is a bit of a juggling act when it comes to marketing the practice and everyone has to find their own balance between attracting big city and rural clients. I tend to take an approach that considers every contact I have with the world outside my office as a marketing opportunity and I am making a concerted effort to build a quality client experience (read Lewis Carbone’s Clued In). I would much rather build a base of raving fans than a base of satisfied customers; satisfied is good, but fans are better – fans will market for you. Be patient, as you build ties to the rural/small town community the work will come.

  4. Bob — I had a great time at the Banquet and did manage to fit a quick trip to the Air & Space Museum before my flight on Thursday. You put on a great CLE and I was honored to be a part of it.

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