Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Farming and Lawyering

Evoking unfortunate jokes about the old television comedy, Green Acres, the ABA Journal reports that "some lawyers are considering an unusual career move that would take them out of the courthouse and into the farm fields."

See Lawyers Seek Green Acres Life Through Iowa Farming Program by Debra Cassens Weiss.

Those of us old enough to remember Green Acres recall Eddie Arnold portraying a New York City lawyer named Oliver Wendell Douglas who gives up his successful practice to purchase a run-down farm. His very urban wife, Lisa, played by Eva Gabor resists the change. The result was often comical, although there never was much about farming actually in the show.

The state of Iowa, however, has beginning farmer programs that link farmers considering retirement with people who want to learn how to farm, and the ABA online journal picked up an AP story about the program "attracting people from all sorts of occupations, including the legal profession."
One lawyer who says he’s ready to begin farming is Nate Litwin of Tennessee, according to the story. He recently visited three farm families in Iowa participating in the program. He says he and his wife, Karen, also a lawyer, would like to raise their 5-year old daughter on a farm. But Litwin doesn’t plan to give up his law practice entirely.

"A lot of people say, 'Are you sure you want to do this?' I say, 'We definitely do,' " he told AP. "They say farming is a tough life. At the same time, they tell me about all the great times they had growing up."
I know a number of lawyers who practice agricultural law and who farm "on the side," and we have had several LL.M. candidates that enter our Agricultural Law Program with that very intent. Having spent the summer on my family farm, I can attest to the appeal.

For anyone that is too young to remember Green Acres or for some odd reason wants a refresher, here is a 45 second clip. Mercifully, it does not include the theme song, which neverthless will now be on my mind for the rest of the day. I will spare readers from that fate.


Blogger Agrilawyer said...

I found a link for the theme song. Apparently they have a hungarian, french, and spanish version on this website also.

A very good post and I have noticed this trend as well as you see the term "part-time attorney" or "practice law on the side" being used more by those new residents of the countryside. I think with the recession and the declining law firm culture where jobs are being severed across the country, there is even more appeal to diversify yourself and perform a line of work that is much more tangible (at least in addition to your current career).

8/13/2009 10:57 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home