I’m trying to put together a list of law schools and bar associations that have or are developing programs aimed at getting law students and lawyers interested in practicing in small towns and rural areas. I know that there are programs either in place or in development in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota, but I’d like to know if there are others out there. So, if you know of a program please drop me a line and help out this rural lawyer.
Like this, but with instruments
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.
‘Twas a week when the muse had walked out the door when to my wondering Google search should appear not a human interest story on Fred Cozad (my apologies Mr. Moore). It seems that Mr. Cozad of Martin, South Dakota is, at age 85, beginning to contemplate retirement – an event worthy of mention in a local paper perhaps, but not something one would be reading about in the Republic of Columbus, Indiana (a fair piece from South Dakota) or hearing about on Minnesota Public Radio. What is of note is that Mr. Cozad is the last lawyer standing in Martin and when he closes shop, the 1000 or so people living there are looking at a 150 mile commute for legal representation.
The recurring theme for this blog is that the rural lawyer is a vanishing species – a bad thing if you happen to live in a small town and need a lawyer, a good thing if you’re an attorney looking for a job. Now, being the only attorney for the next 150 miles can be a good thing – selling your services is going to be a wee bit easier. Continue reading