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Lawyer shortage in rural Nebraska is target of state bar initiative

Posted Oct 1, 2013 6:05 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Twelve counties in Nebraska have no lawyers at all, while others have only a handful.

Indeed, the number of practicing lawyers in rural Nebraska is “shrinking rapidly,” the Sidney Sun-Telegraph reports. The problem has spurred the Nebraska State Bar Association to begin a rural initiative that stresses the benefits of rural practice to law students, according to the Sun-Telegraph and the Associated Press.

New grads with high student loans are hesitant to work in rural areas because they will make less money than in the cities, the state bar says. Meanwhile, the older lawyers who work in rural areas are retiring, leaving no one to take their place.

State Bar President Marsha Fangmeyer told the Sun-Telegraph that two or three people found jobs as a result of the initiative, which featured tours of two small towns in the state. "The hope is to continue this effort in other areas of the state," she said. "It is essential that we provide access to justice all across the state, including the rural areas."

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "South Dakota lures lawyers to rural areas with annual subsidies"

ABAJournal.com: "Bar Program in Kansas Promotes Rural Practice, an Increasingly Appealing Choice for Law Grads"

ABAJournal.com: "Small-Town Clerkship Program in Iowa Hampered by Lack of Interest—From Lawyers, Not Law Students"

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