I am frequently asked why I choose to practice law in a small town. I am not sure why this is such a common question. It may be that many people associate lawyers with big cities, large office towers, or proximity to a Courthouse. I suppose that it is also true that movies and television series involving lawyers are usually focused on “big city law.”
There is no one single reason why I love practicing law in a small town; there are many. While not an exhaustive list, here are my “Top 8” reasons (in no particular order) why it is great to practice law in a small town:
- Sense of Community. Our small town of Onoway has about 1,000 residents. It may be small, but it has a great sense of community. I love that everyone knows the Mayor and Councillors, there is great civic pride, and there are innumerable groups all working together to make the community a better place. It is also true that everybody really does “know your name.”
- Variety of Work. As a general practitioner in a small town, I have the pleasure of assisting a wide range of clients (individuals, small businesses, corporations) with a wide range of legal issues. This means my work is constantly changing and always interesting. You never know what kind of case will walk through the door, and you look forward to every new challenge.
- Small Office Environment. It is great to be your own boss and work with a close-knit group of people. I look forward every day to working with the other two lawyers in the office (Ed and Brian) and our support staff (Delphine, Amanda, and Brittany). We have a great team, enjoy our work, and enjoy each other.
- No Traffic. This may seem like a small thing but it is not. In my drive to and from work, I do not have to deal with a single traffic light, and only 3 stop signs. The drive to and from work is relaxing and scenic. No road rage!
- Small Business. Small businesses are a huge portion of the overall Canadian economy. I take pride in being a local employer and a contributor to the local economy.
- Dress Code. I don’t have to wear the women’s equivalent of the three-piece suit to work (unless I am going to Court). Our dress code is “professional, but approachable.” Life is more comfortable when you are not in a three-piece suit!
- Office Space. Our office is large and spacious. Almost all of us have “corner offices.” We have flowers out front. It is nice not to be in a “cubicle” in a downtown office tower.
- Distance from the Courthouse. It is sometimes necessary for me to appear in Court. However, the distance from the Court is one small factor that reminds me that all efforts to negotiate a resolution to a conflict should be taken before a matter needs to be resolved in Court.
Posted by Michelle Gallagher