So, if there are legal jobs to be had in rural areas, how do you hunt them down? Solos looking to grow their firm and small firms generally aren’t part of the OCI process. However, just because rural job opportunities might not be as easy to spot as opportunities advertised on-campus, that doesn’t mean that you can’t put yourself into a position to know about rural opportunities when they arise.
1. Narrow your search.
This could, and probably eventually will, be its own blog post. The first step is to get a good idea of where you want to practice. Figure out where you want to live, what job opportunities there could be for your significant other, etc. Narrowing your search to a geographic area will allow you to focus your efforts on number two.
2. Reach out to your rural network or make a new one.
If you’ve narrowed the geographic area based on where you’ve grown up or have family members, you already have a network to start with. Even if you’ve picked an area for it’s great pheasant hunting and have no contacts there, you can start creating one. Use your alumni network. Practicing attorneys who went to your school are usually glad to meet with you over lunch to talk about practicing in the area. If there are no alumni in the area, reach out to attorneys who practice in your interest area. They may not be able to offer you a job on the spot, but you can get invaluable information about what it’s like to practice there and when they hear of a job opening, they might remember you and give you a heads up. Also, you’ll start a reputation within the community that you have a commitment to practicing, and importantly, staying in the community.
3. Look beyond your career services’ resources.
Some rural jobs are posted with career services, but not necessarily all. This is especially true if you’re looking for a job in a different state from where you’re going or went to school. Find out what schools in that state have agreements with your school so that you have access to job postings in that state. Also, look at employment ads in state bar and other trade publications. Many solo practitioners and small firms post job opportunities there and not with career services.
By putting some effort into narrowing down a geographic area, making a rural network, and looking at a variety of resources, you’ll be in a position to know about and hunt down rural opportunities when they arise.