It may not be news, but two facts are colliding – rural communities lack lawyers and the placement rate for newly graduated law students is abysmal thanks in part to a nationwide glut of attorneys – in the ivory towers of academia and the in paneled halls of Bar Associations (please allow the literary license – I know that very few law schools actually have ivory towers, most simply make do with concrete and cinderblock, and most Bar Associations’ hallways are paint & drywall). But there are efforts afoot to try to rectify the situation by, in one form or another, inserting tab A (new graduates) into slot B (rural communities).
Recently, the Wall Street Journal and Eastern Iowa News Now reported on efforts by the Iowa State Bar, the University of Iowa, Drake University in Iowa, and Creighton University in Nebraska to place law school students in to summer internships and young lawyers in to permanent jobs in small towns and rural communities.
Today, the Kansas City Star and the ABA Journal report on a collaboration between the University of Kansas Law School, Washburn Law School, and the Kansas Bar Association aimed at enticing young lawyers and law students into rural practice. Currently, the collaboration offers two programs, one to help students master the business management skills needed to thrive in a solo/small practice and the other arranges for unpaid internships with rural lawyers and judges.