Short Takes

Lawyers getting scarce in Nebraska (hat tip to Sidney Sun Telegraph)

The Nebraska State Bar Association is reporting that many Nebraska counties lack sufficient numbers of lawyers to adequately serve the needs of the client base. Currently 12 counties have no lawyers, the end result being that clients are traveling 200+ miles in order to access legal services (unintended consequence #2 is that these clients are not only taking the dollars they would spend on lawyers out of the county, they are taking the dollars they would spend on other things as well). The good news is that the Nebraska State Bar Association has started an initiative to try to encourage law students to consider a rural law career – pointing out things like the accelerated career advancement (average time to partner in  a rural firm: 4-5 years), and the availability of a challenging workload. The program includes tours of small towns and, in its inaugural year, connected at least 2 – 3 graduates with jobs (hey, it’s a start).

OK, So I wasn’t the first with the idea to map where lawyers aren’t

The South Dakota Bar Association beat me to the punch with their map of “Lawyer Population in Rural Areas“, and if that’s not bad enough, I’m betting it’s even more accurate than mine ’cause they most likely had professionals do it (not that I’m jealous or anything).

The reviews thus far for: On Becoming a Rural Lawyer

Susan Carter Liebel has posted a thoughtful review of my book over on Solo Practice University. Caroline Elefant of My Shingle fame was very generous with her review, as were the folks over at SDRuralLawyer, who listed my book as one of their featured books.

Help a Rural Lawyer Out

Dear Readers,

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.


Joining The Bandwagon

Old Wagon in Pasture

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.