Needed: Rural Lawyers; Subsidies Available

South Dakota offers pilot program for attorneys

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 9, 2013 1:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – Lawyers are having a hard time finding jobs these days, but all they really need to do to get hired is move out of the city. Rural America is increasingly short on lawyers, and as a result, one state is offering subsidies to law school grads who practice there. Other states are considering following suit, the New York Times reports. South Dakota's new law, going into effect in June, offers lawyers a $12,000 annual subsidy if they commit to live and work in rural areas for at least five years. That subsidy covers 90% of the cost of one year at the University of South Dakota's law school, the Times notes.

The program is modeled after a similar federal program for health professionals who work in underserved areas. The Times offers stories from places like South Dakota's Bennett County, where there won't be any attorneys for 120 miles after the last one retires. One drug-rehabilitation counselor says she is often asked for advice on legal matters because she knows how to do Internet research. While almost 20% of the country lives in rural areas, just 2% of small law practices are located in those areas, according to recent data.

  (Shutterstock)
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