The Book

Becoming A Rural Lawyer - A Personal Guide to Establishing a Small Town Practice by Bruce Cameron

The rural legal (r)evolution starts by doing, by making a deeply personal decision to go beyond the comfortable and the expected and to seek out the challenging. “Becoming a Rural Lawyer” is here to help you navigate the challenge of staking your future legal career in one of America’s small towns. Being one part champion of rural practice and three parts guide to the 21st century’s emerging model of decentralized legal services, “Becoming a Rural Lawyer”can help you decide if you’re meant to be a small town lawyer and where, among the 128,000 US towns with populations of 25,000 or less, your legal career might reach new levels of satisfaction and meaning. This book debunks the myths of practicing rural/small town law, can help you discover the 5 emerging “hot” areas of rural practice, find the under-exploited niches in the legal job market, appreciate the rhythms and unwritten rules of small town life and learn what new lawyers must do to prepare for a rural legal practice.

Reviews: “Just as a weekend in the country provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, so too,  Bruce Cameron’s book Becoming A Rural Lawyer, is a breath of fresh air from the heaps of impersonal and jargon-filled formulaic guides, blogs and books on starting or marketing a law practice. read more… “Every great human endeavor requires a textbook.  It’s just a fact, perhaps even one of the few iron laws of higher education (along with increasing tuition).  Only when a concept generates enough information, anecdotes, and applications to fill a thick tome does it gain legitimacy.  So what of the niche of rural legal studies?  Well, in short, the rural legal revolution does not start with studies.  It starts with doings.  For the rural legal revolution, the tome model must be left on that dusty shelf of academic posterity.  In its place, Bruce Cameron–the blogger extraordinaire at Rural Lawyer–gives us what very well may be the “textbook” of the rural lawyer read more…

November 2010, The Start

To quote the press release:

SEATTLE, Nov. 8 – Twenty percent of America’s lawyers practice in towns smaller than 50,000 population, but with the legal job market still in free-fall more lawyers than ever before are actively considering opening a small town or rural practice.
In the absence of any current resources, LawyerAvenue Press, publisher of Solo By Choice, signed Bruce Cameron, a Minnesota-based solo practitioner, to author the first-ever handbook for new grads and unemployed BigLaw associates who dream about leaving the big city to practice law in a smaller, less frantically paced small town or rural community. Bruce, a popular law blogger (, balances his own small town practice by writing about practicing law in rural America, where, as he says,“… good neighbors are a mile down the road, the next lawyer is two towns over, and the nearest Starbucks is a good hour away.”
To kick off the book project, Bruce has launched a nationwide search for small town/rural solos at all stages of their careers who are interested in sharing their insights and experiences practicing law in the heartland. To add your voice to the rural lawyering handbook, contact Bruce at b.cameron(at) for further information.

So, there it is, Rural Lawyer the blog is officially on its way to becoming Rural Lawyer the book.

December 2011, An Update

The manuscript is off to the publisher. My thanks go out to the 20 rural lawyers who took the time to share with me their insights and experiences.

March 2013, The Release

Well, 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).

June 2013, Reviews Are Coming In

State Bar of South Dakota (online review, June 2013) — “Becoming a Rural Lawyer hits all of the important points and does them justice. Lawyer/author Bruce Cameron debunks the myths of rural practice, and immerses the reader in the rural experience from a professional, personal, and community standpoint. The writing style is refreshing and entertaining, and each chapter is interwoven with anecdotes from the author’s own experience and that of other rural attorneys from various areas of the country. Indeed, as the subtitle implies, the “personal” theme imbues every facet of this book. The allure of rural practice is in the personal connections that grow between lawyers, their clients, and their communities in a manner unequaled in the legal profession. Cameron’s book captures that spirit.”

Amazon review — “Bruce hits the nail of rural practice right on the head. Anyone thinking about making the trek back home to the “good life” whether right out of law school or after the patina of “Big Law” has worn thin needs this book. For the rural lawyer, its insights are on par with Foonberg and Rose’s works on law practice. It is a quick, easy read and quite frankly, has a lot of business advice that is applicable to every service provider in a rural setting, dentists, doctors and financial advisers would benefit from Bruce’s observations. If you operate or want to operate as service professional in a town of less than 10,000 this book is a must-read.”

4 thoughts on “The Book

  1. I am President Elect of the South Dakota Bar Association and will take the reigns in June of 2011. One of the Bar’s projects will be to address the diminishing numbers of practicing attorneys in rural areas. The Chief Justice has written & spoken on this issue and labelled this issue as one of his concerns as well. Look forward to exploring this site for any pearls of wisdom on addressing this issue. Regards from here. Pat

  2. I grew up in a small town in eastern Kentucky, and had no intention of returning when I headed off to college. Fast forward seven and a half years (four years of undergrad and three years of law school), and I’m back in my home town practicing law.

    The economy crashed my 1L year, so I had a few years to mentally prepare myself for lackluster job opportunities. I went to a good law school, did well, and was very active with Moot Court and the like….but graduation came and went and no job. So I moved back home after the bar to regroup and save money. I called an older attorney in town who works primarily for the local bank to see if I could clerk for him…After interviewing with him and his clients I got hired as an associate a week later. He wants to retire within the next five years, and has apparently been desperate to find someone to take his practice over. It isn’t the Big Law experience I was taught to hope for, but I’m learning a lot, and really enjoying being a small town lawyer.

  3. Pingback: Featured Books on Rural Legal Practice 2 - June 8, 2013 - SD Rural Lawyer

  4. Pingback: Short Takes | Rural Lawyer

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