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Partnership Created in North Dakota That Provides Attorneys in All Counties of State
In what seems to be very surprising, there are some counties in North Dakota that have zero attorneys, according to the Grand Forks Herald. To fix this problem, a partnership was created between the bar association, the state courts, and the University of North Dakota Law School. The partnership has created clerkships for students seeking a law degree in the counties with zero attorneys.
There are four counties in the state without an attorney and Slope County is one of them. Laurie Guenther, from the State Board of Law Examiners, compiled data released in December that details the number of attorneys in each county. Billings and Dunn have just one attorney each. There are six more counties that also only have one attorney.
For the most part, when the need for an attorney arises, clients might be traveling hundreds of miles to seek assistance. Judge Gail Hagerty also said that when one attorney feels it is time to retire, he or she might not be able to because of the lack of a replacement. Judge Hagerty was the author of the proposal written for the courts and Legislature.
“They’re kind of general practitioners who have served a real need in their communities,” Judge Hagerty said. “We decided we want to try to figure out a way to make law students, young people who are beginning their practice, aware of all the benefits of working in rural communities.”
Tony Weiler, the executive director of the North Dakota State Bar Association, said, “We know that there are certain counties that are underserved and when you have an attorney in those counties … when they’re gone, there’s really no successors. In the past, there used to be an attorney or two coming up behind them and now when they retire you might not have an attorney for miles and miles and miles.”Partnership Created in North Dakota That Provides Attorneys in All Counties of State by Jim Vassallo