In Episode 13 of the Bottom Up Podcast, produced by the State Bar of Wisconsin, co-hosts Emil Ovbiagele and Kristen Hardy talk with Karina O’Brien, an attorney at Kostner, Koslo & Brovold LLC in Arcadia, Wisconsin. The topic? Rural practice in Wisconsin. The challenges. The opportunities. The shortage of attorneys in rural Wisconsin.

A 2014 U.W. Law School graduate, Karina grew up in Arcadia, located 45 miles south of Eau Claire. She didn’t think she would return to her hometown to live and work, but a local law firm offered her a job out of law school, and her father championed the opportunity as a good start. “Give it a try,” Karina recalls him saying. “You can always move on.”

Now, almost a decade later, there’s no place Karina would rather be (except maybe skiing). With a sharp wit and good humor, Karina highlights a day in the life of her rural practice, including the sense of community that comes with it. Karina said Arcadia, like many smaller towns in Wisconsin, is a place where the community is rooting for you to succeed, and the support of other attorneys in the TriCounty Bar Association is unmatched.

Amid shortages of attorneys in rural areas – with many older rural attorneys retiring and few to replace them – Kristen, Emil, and Karina explore what can be done to attract attorneys to rural parts of the state. Opportunities abound, and potential solutions emerge, but where do we go from here?