AndreaKWelker

Swimming in Small Ponds: Floating at the Top of the Bowl

When I initially imagined this column earlier this year, I didn't expect to end up unemployed half-way through writing it.  One of the dangers of small town practice is a limited client pool, and when not enough of those clients are paying their bills... well, the result is pretty obvious.

So, I've packed up and moved back to Lexington.  However, as I set out to go on my own, I intend to concentrate my practice on the surrounding counties, including my hometown of Nicholasville.  In some ways, practicing "back home" will be easier, because I already have a foundation there.  I know the judges, I know the clerks, and I know the lawyers -- I grew up with their kids, and now some of those kids are starting to fill those same positions.  I have a ready-made group of contacts, good for networking my new practice.  However, in other ways, it's difficult for me to go back.  I want to be known for who I am now, not for who I was twenty years ago, or even as recent as twelve years ago.  Not to mention dodging ex-boyfriends and people I just plain didn't like.  I always swore I'd never go back and now, here I am, ready to set up shop and spend my days at the town courthouse; eating lunch at the same restaurants I ate at in high school when I'd ditch class; seeing all of the same people I grew up with; and discovering what it's like to try to "go home again." 

There are only 20 female attorneys in my hometown, so it will be interesting to find out how young female attorneys fare.  The legal community there has long been dominated by a few select male attorneys.  People are loyal to the attorneys they and their families have always used.  However, small towns change when they are in close proximity to a larger, constantly expanding city such as Lexington.  With a rapid increase in population, the make-up of my hometown has changed dramatically.  It is entirely possible I can't go home again.

2 Comments

jessie

Andrea, this is a huge change and I wish you all the best in your new practice and your new life. I wanted to recommend some resources that might help. They are listed here: http://www.abanet.org/genpractice/resources/startafirm.html

jlwallace

Best wishes on your move. We’ll be waiting to hear more about “going home again”—sounds like it will still be a pretty small pond!

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