Inside Track: Life and Practice in Rural Wisconsin: Bus Tour Heads West - Sign Up by Sept. 21:

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    Life and Practice in Rural Wisconsin: Bus Tour Heads West - Sign Up by Sept. 21

    For lawyers seeking a new community or law students anticipating their first career step, the 2018 State Bar of Wisconsin Greater Wisconsin Initiative Bus Tour explores western Wisconsin. Sign up by Sept. 21 for the Oct. 5-6 tour.
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    Sept. 5, 2018 – Judge James Duvall, newly retired from Buffalo and Pepin county circuit courts, encourages lawyers seeking a new opportunity to participate in the Greater Wisconsin Initiative Bus Tour.

    Each fall, the Greater Wisconsin Initiative Bus Tour takes lawyers and law students into the rural and small-town areas of Wisconsin.

    It is a free opportunity for newer lawyers and 3L law students – and their spouses or significant others – to connect with local judges, attorneys, and community and business leaders, and to learn more about life and practice in western Wisconsin.

    The Greater Wisconsin Initiative encourages attorneys to consider practicing in rural and small-town areas. The tour is a great way to explore whether a rural practice is right for you and provides you with the resources you need to get started.

    The 2018 tour takes place Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5-6, and visits Crawford, Grant, Buffalo, Jackson, Pepin, and Trempealeau counties.

    Before Judge Duvall retired and headed on to other adventures, he was instrumental in bringing the tour to the Seventh Judicial District of Wisconsin. “I’m a strong supporter of this program, and believe our community has a lot to offer newer lawyers,” Judge Duvall said.  

    Why Take the Tour?

    There is a need for more lawyers in the rural and small-town communities of Wisconsin. Some areas of Wisconsin are experiencing the consequences of lawyer shortages. More than 60 percent of Wisconsin lawyers are located in the state’s three urban counties. On the other hand, a number of nonurban counties have fewer than 10 lawyers each. Many more counties have fewer than 20 lawyers.

    Research shows when lawyers who practice in rural areas are asked why they made that decision, they highlight their autonomy and independence, the opportunities for leadership and involvement in the community, and a desire to be in an area that offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation.

    The tour was developed in response to the trend in Wisconsin and nationwide where aging lawyers in rural areas are transitioning out of practice without younger colleagues to replace them. “The bus tour is a great way to showcase opportunities around the state outside of Madison and Milwaukee, and encourage newer members of the profession to consider these options,” said Judge Richard Brown, retired chief judge, Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

    What happens when a rural area no longer has a lawyer? Vital legal needs go unmet and access to justice is jeopardized.

    What does this mean for you? Opportunities abound in rural Wisconsin to establish your practice.

    The 2018 Tour – Sign Up by Sept. 21

    The tour includes:

    • Round-trip bus transportation from Madison

    • Informational meet-and-greets with local judges, attorneys, and other business professionals

    • Lunch in Potosi on Friday and pizza with locals in Pepin on Saturday

    • Dinner reception with community leaders, attorneys, and judges in Black River Falls

    • Overnight stay in Black River Falls

    • Tour of the Grant County Courthouse

    • Plenty of time to network

    Participants are encouraged to bring their spouses or partners along on the tour.

    In addition, participants who complete the tour receive a coupon for 50-percent off tuition to the Wisconsin Solo & Small Firm Conference, Oct. 25-27 in Wisconsin Dells.

    To find out more and to sign up, visit the tour’s website on and complete the application by Sept. 21, 2018.

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