Hanging Your Shingle in a Small Town

A guest post by Andrew Flusche

Similar to being a rural lawyer, practicing law in a small town has unique challenges and considerations. It’s certainly not the same as the big city! Here are a few things I’ve learned since starting my practice in the booming small-opolis of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Today’s lawyers are tomorrow’s judges

In Virginia, the legislature appoints our judges. Of course those appointments come from the ranks of the active bar. It makes perfect sense, but when I was a baby lawyer I never really thought about it.

Here’s why I mention it: be nice to everyone! If you’re rude to a colleague that doesn’t seem to affect your practice at all today, they very well could be a judge next year.

In the five years since I’ve been practicing, I’ve seen a handful of judicial changes, and I practice in an extremely limited number of courts. Just this simple fact should give you pause before you do anything that might not reflect positively on you.

It’s a small world out there

When practicing in a small town, you run into people from your legal world outside the courtroom. I run into clerks, judges, clients, colleagues, and officers all the time when I’m out and about.

Needless to say, we should always be nice to everyone. But we’re human, so that’s easier said than done.

However, as a small town lawyer, it’s even more important to always be kind. Heck, I run into clients who I can’t even remember, but they recognize me. If I treat someone poorly, they just might be a past client. Or they might have been a client tomorrow.

Be unique to stand out

It’s tempting to model your practice on the other attorneys in town. After all, it’s working for them. Why not follow suit?

Here in Fredericksburg, most folks do family law, criminal defense, and personal injury. Some people just do two of those, but being more of a generalist is standard practice around town.

To give myself a marketing advantage, I came up with a unique angle: traffic and misdemeanor defense. I’m the only attorney in Fredericksburg (and perhaps the state of Virginia) who solely defends traffic tickets and misdemeanor charges. Many colleagues are still surprised that my practice works, but I think the main reason it’s worked out is that I’m different. In a crowded field, the purple cow gets attention.

Andrew Flusche lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia and helps people from all over the country with their reckless driving Virginia tickets. He also wrote the consumer book, Fight Your Virginia Reckless Driving Ticket. Find Andrew on Google+.