Access to Justice Resolution 10B | Project Rural Practice | Summary and Q&A

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October 21, 2022
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American Bar Association
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Access to Justice Resolution 10B | Project Rural Practice

TL;DR

South Dakota's rural areas are facing a shortage of lawyers, but Project Rural Practice aims to recruit attorneys to these areas, providing access to justice.

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Key Insights

  • 😀 South Dakota's rural areas are facing a shortage of lawyers, making it difficult for residents to access legal services.
  • ❓ The ABA supported the issue and implemented Project Rural Practice to recruit lawyers to rural areas.
  • 👍 South Dakota's State Legislature approved a budget for a 16-attorney pilot program, which was later expanded to 32 lawyers.
  • 🐕‍🦺 Project Rural Practice has successfully provided legal services in areas where residents previously had to travel long distances to meet with a lawyer.
  • 🤢 Collaboration between the ABA, state bar associations, and local governments is crucial in addressing access to justice issues in rural America.
  • ❓ The success of Project Rural Practice demonstrates the impact that collective efforts can have in solving social problems.
  • 👨‍⚖️ The ABA's involvement in addressing access to justice issues highlights its commitment to its mission of providing justice for all.

Transcript

In rural South Dakota, small town lawyers were a vanishing breed. "Most South Dakota attorneys live and work in the state's biggest cities: Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Aberdeen, or the capitol, Pierre." "With two-thirds of South Dakota's attorneys concentrated in just four cities, it's becoming increasingly difficult for rural residents to find a l... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why are small town lawyers vanishing in rural South Dakota?

Two-thirds of South Dakota attorneys are concentrated in major cities, making it difficult for rural residents to find a lawyer. As older attorneys retire, some rural counties are left without any lawyers.

Q: How did the ABA respond to the access to justice issue in rural America?

The ABA, after being alerted by the Chief Justice of South Dakota, encouraged bar associations to address the problem and brought attention to it during their meetings.

Q: What was the response to the call for action in rural South Dakota?

The ABA unanimously approved Resolution 10B, urging governments to address the access to justice issue in rural America and encouraging bar associations to develop programs to recruit lawyers to rural areas.

Q: What is Project Rural Practice and how does it work?

Project Rural Practice, implemented in South Dakota, acts as a "Match.com" for rural areas and lawyers. Desperate rural areas can showcase their communities on a website, and lawyers looking for positions in rural areas can match with them.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Small town lawyers in rural South Dakota are disappearing, leaving rural residents without legal representation.

  • South Dakota's Chief Justice raised concerns about the declining number of rural lawyers and the need for programs to encourage law school graduates to practice in these areas.

  • The American Bar Association (ABA) supported the issue and implemented Project Rural Practice, a program matching rural areas with lawyers willing to work in those locations.

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