Press "Enter" to skip to content

HB 1046: Extend Rural Attorney Recruitment Program Indefinitely

Governor Kristi Noem’s big-government spending on rural broadband won’t be enough to save small towns from rural decline. We all know that if you want a vibrant small town, you’ve got to have lawyers.

Lawyers? That’s what Chief Justice David Gilbertson said last week when praising the Rural Attorney Recruitment Program to the South Dakota Legislature during his State of the Judiciary Address:

It is clear that we are obtaining quality participants to go into the South Dakota Rural Attorney Program. Both the attorney and the county are beneficiaries. This is taxpayer money that is well invested and will pay long term benefits for the participant counties and the state. It assists the infrastructure of these rural counties to vibrantly expand and grow, rather than wither away and ultimately become uninhabited with only remnants of courthouses and what once was a thriving rural society [Chief Justice David Gilbertson, address to South Dakota Legislature, 2019.01.09].

Chief Justice Gilbertson said the Unified Justice System has contracts with 24 out of 48 eligible counties (the ones under 10,000 people) placing new lawyers in their midst. Those Joel Fleischmans get annual incentive payments equal to 90% of annual tuition and fees at USD Law… meaning USD grads get three years of tuition paid back and a year and a half of gravy for their small-town labors. The state pays 65% of that incentive; the county pays 35%.

Chief Justice Gilbertson says we’ve only had one recruit bail out of the 24 counties, “and under very unique circumstances,” so he thinks the program is going well… so well that he offers, via the House Judiciary Committee, House Bill 1046, which would remove the 2022 sunset from the RARP and let it continue indefinitely. However, the current limit of 32 incentivized rural attorneys would remain in place.

HB 1046 doesn’t increase the annual budget; it just means we don’t get to close down the RARP in 2022 and drop that cost from the budget, a cost that, calculated from current USD costs and applied to maxed-out participation, wouldn’t exceed half a million bucks.

That’s a small price to pay, I suppose, to keep 32 rural counties hopping with some sharp legal eagle.

But hey, wouldn’t Drew Dennert tell us those small communities could just do without lawyers and solve all their problems with concealed weapons?

p.s.: Hey, how about a Rural Blogger Recruitment Program? We all know how much more interesting good local bloggers make their communities. Here’s the deal: we pay for your English degree (or communications, journalism… maybe even philosophy!), and you agree to live in a South Dakota county that qualifies for the RARP for three years and blog daily, with at least 40% of your posts dedicated to local issues (i.e., in your county) and at least 80% of your posts dedicated to South Dakota. Imagine the vibrant (not to mention well-connected) literary community we could create!


  1. Porter Lansing 2019-01-14

    I’ve always heard a small town lawyer will go broke but two small town lawyers will get rich convincing people to sue each other.
    ~ In communities with a true shortage of lawyers, there will be very little competition. Most likely, any competition will come from baby boomers who will soon retire. That’s good news because they can serve as mentors. Also, there may be opportunities to buy a mentor’s practice for a very reasonable price.
    ~ The practical benefits of small-town lawyering include a lower cost of living, minimal commutes and a slower pace of living. Plus, it is real lawyering rather than a temporary job reviewing documents at $20 an hour.

  2. Debbo 2019-01-14

    SD had a similar program for teachers. Does that still exist? The lege would be wise to continue that in perpetuity. Somebody’s got to educate those lawyers.

    In addition, I am 100% in favor of Cory’s blog proposal. However, not all small towns will like it if it’s too honest.

    I once lived in a small town when a new newspaper editor moved in. She reported the facts, attending board and council meetings. When there was disagreement she wrote that. Her honest article on a particularly contentious city council meeting made certain council members angry. They didn’t want the entire town to know how they’d behaved. They eventually ran the good editor out of town.

  3. bearcreekbat 2019-01-14

    Porter, the same is true with second hand/antique dealers.

    Joe and Bob each had a shop across the street from each other in a small town. A woman died and Joe bought her old coffe table and put it in his shop for $15.

    Bob saw it and decided he could do better so he bought it and marked it up to $25. Joe got suspicious and decided Bob knew something about the table, so Joe bought it back and marked it up to $50.

    Bob saw what Joe had done, came to the same conclusion, bought it back from Joe and marked it up to $100. This went on until the table was marked at $500 in Joe’s shop.

    This time Bob was out of town. Meanwhile a tourist bought it and took it home.

    When he returned, Bob asked Joe “why in the world did you sell that table to the tourist – we were each making a killing on it?”

  4. Porter Lansing 2019-01-14

    good one, bear ツ

  5. Debbo 2019-01-15

    Thanks Cory, and I agree about lawyers getting the best of it. SDGOP priorities. 🙄

  6. leslie 2019-01-15

    Given lawyer propensity to use politics as a shortcut to career building, is the public financing the young budding Republican politician albeit lawtrained? I don’t notice many dr/legislators in comparison.

    Surveillance capitalism is being discussed on NPR now. It fits with Republican transparency failure. Btw

    Gilbertson seems a spokesperson for the GOP while the goal of adequate legal advice in the countryside is admirable on its face. Latently I am not so sure.

  7. Ryan 2019-01-16

    There should be more lawyers in the legislature. People writing laws without any education or background in understanding laws seems as smart as asking an accountant to perform knee surgery on a somebody for “diversity” reasons.

    The general idea on this blog from the left-wing nuts that all republicans are bad and all democrats are good is one reason our country is falling apart. Just a hint, right-wing nuts think the same thing in reverse. There really is nuance in this world, despite the red and blue scrolling bar on the bottom of your preferred news channel.

    Incentivising the growth of professional businesses and services in rural areas is a good idea, even if the mouthpiece talking about it is a republican.

  8. Porter Lansing 2019-01-16

    Ryan … My country isn’t falling apart, you paranoid, pencil pushing loser. It’s a psychological tell that you think it is. Fill out somebody’s tax forms and leave politics to the experts on DFP.

  9. Ryan 2019-01-16

    It’s a psychological tell that you think it is Your country. And yes, it is indeed falling apart. Your misplaced patriotism might make you feel good, but it doesn’t change reality. The US can be saved, sure, but currently appropriate verbs include: crumbling, fractured, failing, falling, sliding, divided, corrupted, radical, and teetering.

    I don’t fill out tax forms. Just because I referenced accountants doesn’t mean I am an accountant, you brilliant detective. Accountants probably don’t use pencils at work, either. What year do you think it is?

  10. Porter Lansing 2019-01-16

    Ryan … My lawyer does my taxes, every quarter and she uses lots of pencils. She’s in the group of DFP readers who read your posts. Many of us have discussed you (off the blog) and we pretty much all wonder about why over 40% of what you say has a deviant sexual nature? It’s quite common for that to stem from an unfulfilled and unrecognized sexual status with frustration and anger complications. Might have to do with your having been abused. Sound familiar, Mr/Ms Ryan? There’s help out there. But, whatever. Too bad your USA is falling apart. Must suck to be you, huh?

  11. Ryan 2019-01-16

    porter, you have got to get a life, bro. You talk about blog commenters in your free time!? You must have fewer friends and loved ones than I imagined. Or they are as dumb and boring as you are. I would encourage your lawyer (who does your taxes) to move into the modern world of computers. Fewer pencils to push.

    Now, did you calculate that oddly specific percentage of my comments that have a deviant sexual nature, or are you just being you and making stuff up? I wonder what you consider a deviant sexual nature. I have said nothing except to support equality for men and women and absolute rights for all people, women included, to control their bodies and healthcare decisions. I’d be curious if you could actually find one single post of mine that is of a deviant sexual nature.

    You don’t like me, which is fine. I don’t want people like you to like me. People like you are the reason this country is falling apart. Just be a man and admit it, though. Don’t pretend you don’t like me for some baloney reason you made up. You can say I hate women or I have gender or masculinity issues, that’s all totally fine. You are just using insults to avoid taking responsibility for your opinions. You are a weak child. Just admit you don’t like me because I don’t agree with you about everything. That’s the truth and you know it. All this other stuff is just you dancing and prancing and putting on your lipstick.

  12. Debbo 2019-01-16

    Waste of time Porter, but I understand you wanting to try. Ryan’s defenses are very high, his own personal wall.

    Back to the topic.

    Small towns do need an attorney or 2, but as I said earlier, I’d like to see a greater emphasis on teacher recruitment. I don’t know that there’s a way that larger government can create a greater sense of cohesion and community. Perhaps making funds available for grants to help provide the necessary infrastructure, facilities.

    A small town just a few miles from Aberdeen might make a first rate case study in how to create community. I’m talking about Stratford, about 10 miles south of Bath. They have a thriving community theater in a new building, plus a new firehall. They have regular community picnics, Veterans Day parades and other activities. The people involved are farmers and people who work in Aberdeen, Groton, etc.

    Cory, if you want to know more about Stratford, the community leader, now semi-retired, is a good friend of mine. The state lege ought to be picking her brain to learn more about strengthening small towns.

  13. Ryan 2019-01-16

    I can’t tell who is more delusional between the two of you.

  14. Roger Cornelius 2019-01-16

    You know how I know that this country is not falling apart? It has survived two years of Trump.
    In the 1970’s this country survived a constitutional crisis with Richard Nixon and Watergate and we’ll survive Trump even if we have to carry him out of the White House.
    republicans like to scare citizens with talk of this country is falling apart and you better fall us to survive when what they are actually wanting is to get their greedy little hands on America’s purse strings.
    Once again Ryan thinks another of Cory’s post are about him, it is not.

  15. Ryan 2019-01-16

    Roger, what did I say to make you think that I believe this post is about me? I commented objectively about the specific content of the post and objectively about another commenter’s opinion regarding the day-jobs of legislators. Once porter wanted to attack me personally, I responded, but your comment makes me think you must have seen something else that I am not aware of…so feel free to point it out.

    You sound like porter – just make stuff up when you disagree with somebody.

  16. Debbo 2019-01-16

    Roger, you’re right about the reason the Wrong wants to make people believe the country is falling apart and the situation is very dire. That’s why Carl Bernstein titled his book about Imbecilic Orangutan “Fear.”

    Imbecilic Orangutan’s favorite way to control and manage people is through fear. One of Hitler’s top Nazis, maybe Goehring, is the author of a quote promoting that very tool.

    The greater the fear, the easier the manipulation and control. Imbecilic Orangutan finds his only current support among the lower IQ and less skilled at critical thinking, more vulnerable to fear. (And greedy, psychopathic SOBs like himself.) Those are the people who readily buy into the fear-mongering.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.