EDMS, or the electronic data management system, has been great to allow me to operate my practice no matter where I am, no matter the time of day. I can file a pleading or document at 11:30 at night if I'd like, from the comfort of my couch, while wearing pajamas. Or at 7:15 while waiting for my kids to wake up in the morning. It works well.
However, this means that unless I have a hearing, I do not travel to the rural county courthouses. When I first started in the practice of law, my former boss brought me around every week to introduce me to people. I met judges, clerks of court, court reporters and court attendants, and importantly, colleagues. I have not chatted with many attorneys lately in the gallery of the courtroom or a hallway to find out about what they do outside of their lawyer jobs. I have not talked about how a judge's weekend went, or asked a clerk about their kids. It makes it more challenging to connect with people on more than a superficial level, and to know what to expect from the bench and opposing counsel when the day comes that you have a trial.
So if you are a new attorney in rural practice, the onus is on you to get out there and introduce yourself to people. Although I am not a new attorney, I find myself needing to get out and shake hands. To let people know that I am here. I believe it is a vital part of rural practice. Here's to networking!