Have you ever considered working in rural or regional areas?
Working in the legal profession in a rural or regional area can offer a variety of unique and rewarding opportunities for legal practitioners, law graduates and legal support staff.
Historically, one of the drawbacks of working in a rural or regional area concerned the remoteness of its location. Today, advances in technology, road infrastructure and transport routes have largely overcome any perception of remoteness or disconnection.
Rural and regional legal practices often service large areas, and they can do so more effectively due to technology systems in their practices. Practitioners in these areas will often tell you the lifestyle, quality of work and sense of community make regional and rural areas great places to work.
Six reasons (which we might add, are not the only reasons) why you may consider working in a rural or regional area include the following:
Opportunity to make a difference
We all have the opportunity to make a difference, and perhaps in a rural or regional area you can see the difference in people’s lives as you live and work in a tight-knit community. You may also have an opportunity to work on cases that have a significant impact on the community, with matters encompassing environmental law, resources law, native title, or agricultural law. Practitioners in regional areas often have very strong relationships with their clients, other local professionals, community organisations and other business owners.
Junior legal practitioners in these areas tend to be exposed to a greater range and complexity of matters sooner than their metropolitan counterparts. Some may argue you have more opportunities for career growth, while others might suggest you find your career progresses much more quickly as there may be fewer lawyers and legal practices in your area. You may have the chance to take on more responsibility earlier in your career, work on a wider range of cases, and develop a broader range of legal skills.
For senior practitioners looking to make a change, rural or regional practice can provide you with the opportunity to work in your niche area, while also having time to juggle family demands and pursue your passion project, whether it be a hobby, sport or pastime.
The pandemic sparked significant developments in the use and advancement of technology which have been and continue to be, adapted by legal practices across the nation. The effects of this are quite prominent in rural and regional legal practices where law firms and clients alike have embraced the connectivity and productivity of cloud computing, video conferencing and online research and professional development.
Business development and social media
Social media can be a valuable tool for all lawyers. In rural and regional areas, practitioners are likely to have far greater engagement on their social media platforms which can allow them to build their reputation and connect with a variety of potential clients. Although the reach of your social media posts may be lower, the engagement is likely to be much higher. However, as law firms move to service clients beyond certain geographical areas, the reach of your social media is also likely to expand.
Cost of living
Compared to urban centres, rural and regional areas are often touted as having a lower cost of living. This might certainly be true in relation to housing costs and may mean you can enjoy a higher quality of life while still earning a competitive/good salary.
Many lawyers find it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance in the fast-paced environment of city or suburban legal practice. Practising law in rural or regional areas can offer a more relaxed pace of life, shorter commuting times and a better work-life balance.
Practising law in rural or regional areas can offer valuable and unique opportunities that you may not find in metropolitan areas. In making a real difference in people’s lives and building strong relationships with the community that you are surrounded by, practising law in these areas can be a fulfilling and satisfying career choice.
Then there are the lifestyle benefits which generally involve less traffic jams, a greater ability to indulge in your favourite hobbies and quality family time. If you are looking for a new challenge, consider working in a rural or regional area – you may be surprised at the opportunities that await you. So why not consider making the move to a more rural or regional area for your next career move?
If you would like to discuss practice management, either regionally or in CBD areas, why not chat to one of our Practice Advisory Service (PAS) solicitors? They have years of experience running their own practices and are able to provide guidance, discuss current trends affecting small firms or touch base on pertinent issues you may be concerned about.