Considerations in Rural Officing

There are almost endless considerations for law officing. By far the most common office for the rural practitioner remains a brick and mortar location. But, just because rural officing may look traditional, there are still important considerations for the rural office.

1. The case for brick and mortar.

Even as technology offers creative places to have your office, the law office for the typical rural practitioner remains the traditional brick and mortar. Home officing and virtual officing are gaining in popularity as a low cost option. But, for a rural practitioner, there are advantages to a brick and mortar location. The best marketing tool you have to those in your community is your commitment to the area and your local connections. People appreciate their main street being vibrant. Opening an office in a formerly empty storefront creates immediate buzz and is a contribution to bettering your town. Fellow businesses and local citizens tend to support their local businesses and appreciate the investment. A brick and mortar establishment demonstrates your commitment to the community and that you plan on being around. This makes you more attractive to potential clients than metro alternatives.

2. Don’t forget to keep overhead low.

A brick and mortar office can be a far cheaper investment than similar set ups in a metro. However, just because the real estate is a bargain, doesn’t mean that you blow the bank otherwise. With current technology, your local clients can get legal help virtually and from your metro competitors working from home and virtual offices. While they may prefer going to you because you’re local, they won’t pay a premium. You still need to figure out how to serve your clients in a cost effective manner.

3. Beware of bedroom communities.

Just because you are local, doesn’t mean you’re convenient. Know your preferred client base and determine a convenient location for them. If you practice family law and your office is in a bedroom community, the vast majority of your client base may be commuting to the metro for work. Unless you plan to have office hours on evenings and Saturdays, you are not a convenient option and are likely to lose business to your metro competitors.

Officing considerations for a rural practitioner can be different than their metro colleagues. However, using your office to make connections, keep overhead low, and be a convenient option to your client base are universal considerations.


1 Comment

  1. Avatar Justin McLeod says:

    I agree with all of your points. As a practitioner in a smaller community I have found a physical office a “must.” Suburban and rural clients expect an office for most practice areas. However, a friend of mine started a traffic defense practice with a “rent by the hour” office space. It can be done without a dedicated office, but I would agree that a physical location is recommended.

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