Rural Counties in Wyoming Need Practicing Attorneys

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Through the College of Law Legal Liftoff program, Adeline Mager participated in the operations of the Spence Law Firm with attorney Emily Madden in Casper.

Add Wyoming to the growing list of states impacted by a declining number of attorneys practicing in rural communities. There are eight counties in the state that have fewer than 1.2 lawyers per 1,000 people. Another eight have fewer than 3.9 attorneys per 1,000 people. One potential solution is the new Wyoming State Bar Rural Practice Opportunity Fund funded through the University of Wyoming Foundation. Through a combination of a donation from the Wyoming State Bar and state funds, the endowment will fund stipend and salary matches as well as travel and living expenses for law students taking part in the University of Wyoming's Legal Liftoff program and externships with rural attorneys in the state. Wyoming's Joint Judiciary Committee also requested a bill draft creating a Rural Attorney Incentive Program modeled after a similar program in South Dakota. The Casper Tribune has more information and an overview of other states' rural justice programs.

This article first appeared in the May 3, 2023, issue of Bar Leader Weekly from the American Bar Association.

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