Job prospects for new lawyers are
pretty bleak these days. Only half of 2012 law graduates had full-time work as lawyers by mid-February, the ABA Journal has reported.But part of the problem might be that new law grads are mostly concentrated in big urban areas, The New York Times reports.
Only 2 per cent of the country’s small law firms are in rural areas even though one-fifth of the population lives there, according to the Times.
South Dakota has become the first state to reimburse people for their law school tuition to try to get more lawyers out of the city and into rural America.
Lawyers must practice in South Dakota for five years to get the “incentive payment,” which is 90 per cent of in-state tuition for the University of South Dakota School of Law to be paid out over those five years. That would end up being $19,337, or an extra $3,867 each year lawyers spend in South Dakota, assuming they leave right after they do their time.
While that amount isn’t insignificant, it would hardly put a dent in the $125,000 in debt that graduates of private law schools incur on average. Lawyers in South Dakota also make a lot less money than attorneys in the Big Apple.
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