South Dakota attorney recruitment program brings justice to rura - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

South Dakota attorney recruitment program brings justice to rural areas

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Access to some services such as doctors and lawyers can be challenging in rural areas.

Some state leaders created the rural attorney recruitment program to fix that.

KSFY News visited the first law office to take advantage of this program.

Attorney Jake Fischer was practicing law in the Twin Cities and was at a crossroads of his life which brought him back home to South Dakota.

"Once you get married and have your first kid, where do I want to raise my family and to me this was a distinct possibility," Fischer said.

And the Rural Attorney Recruitment Program made it possible.

"The program was kind of the linchpin in helping me make that decision and provide a level or support and security to come here, set up an office and get on my feet and give me a good chance to get things going," Fischer said.

Which he did, in Corsica.  Wednesday, the office welcomed the first lawyer in the new program.

State senator Mike Vehle said "he was in Minneapolis, and he's come back to South Dakota and he's going to practice law here. If he's here for five years, the hope is he stays with this area and helps this area prosper and grow."

The state, county and Bar Association all contribute to the recruitment program. A first for South Dakota and the nation.

"It pays the tuition of the student, but the student or young attorney then has to stay in that community for five years, otherwise it becomes a loan and they have to pay it back," Vehle said.

"My dream, my vision is just to be kind of the small town lawyer and I think what that means is to do a little bit of everything," Fischer said.

Fischer tells us he hopes to specialize in agricultural law.  Also, he plans to help the court appointed attorney program, helping people who can't afford a lawyer.

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