Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lawyers, Listen Up: Rural South Dakota Wants You

It’s been a tough time to be a law school graduate, with constant reports about the lousy job market and never-ending questions about the value of a law degree.

But it's not all doom and gloom. There is at least one region of the country actively seeking more lawyers: rural South Dakota.

According to this piece in the Argus Leader, the State Bar of South Dakota is launching Project Rural Practice to try to lure more attorneys to the state's less populated regions.

"A lot of our rural attorneys are nearing retirement and looking for someone to carry on the practice," state bar president Pat Goetzinger told the Argus Leader.

During this year's State of the Judiciary address, Chief Justice David Gilbertson of the South Dakota Supreme Court said: "We face the very real possibility of whole sections of the state being without access to legal services."

The South Dakota bar plans to work with communities to come up with financial incentives to lure lawyers to rural areas, according to the Argus Leader. But what those incentives might entail remains to be fleshed out, as Project Rural Practice is still in its early stages.

This is not the first time that young lawyers have been exhorted to go rural in search of work. Last year, we blogged about a piece in Lawyerist that also hit on the need for country lawyers and advised urban-centric attorneys to give country living a chance.

"Fears of cultural isolation may be just that - fears," the piece notes. "Many people in the city think nothing of traveling three hours each way in the summer to go up to the family cabin; rural residents just do a 'reverse commute' to attend sporting events, concerts, and other big city attractions."

By Nathan Koppel

Source: Wall Street Journal

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