Good question! Actually, I was born in Madison, Tennessee, which is part of greater Nashville. That’s a metro area, at least by my definition! I have spent a lot of time in large cities during my life. I lived in Columbus, Ohio for about 4 years during law school and shortly thereafter. I have traveled to and spent significant time in a number of other high population areas including New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, and others.
I absolutely love the cultural and sporting event offerings that large cities have to share. Those would include athletic events, art museums, professional foundations and associations, theaters, etc.
But, here’s what those metropolitan areas don’t offer, at least from my perspective:
1. The opportunity to live a half mile from my office.
2. A small-town environment for children.
3. Grocery stores and gas stations where I know many of the people I encounter each time I go in.
4. Absolutely no traffic jams.
5. On a similar point, no “rush hour” traffic delays.
6. The ability to know professionals who serve me, not just as people offering me services, but as acquaintances and friends: doctors, other lawyers, real estate agents, dentists, clergy members, bankers, retailers, people in all kinds of service industries, food servers and restaurant personnel, etc.
7. The ability to be acquainted with many of my legal clients on a more community-oriented level, and the privilege of encountering them frequently outside the office, such as at local restaurants and businesses.
8. Significantly lower office overhead.
Another thing about living in a smaller population area is this: there aren’t that many other lawyers in my part of the state. That means that I know most of them pretty well, know what to expect from them, know their tendencies, and have a very good idea about which other lawyers tend to try to resolve matters expeditiously, etc. I think that’s a real advantage to practicing law in a small town.
Finally, when people from urban areas ask me why I chose a small town despite being interested in the state bar association, state bar foundation and many of the cultural, sporting events and destinations offered by big towns, I tell them this: we all spend most of our time in our homes and in our residence communities. I feel more comfortable in a small town. If I want to go see a famous painting or an important baseball game, etc., I can always drive, fly or float (at least with the help of a ship)! I have nothing against people who have chosen to live in metro areas, it’s just that I chose something else!