According to some sports movie I’ve never seen but have heard referred to enough to make me feel confident in quoting it, “If you build it, they will come.” As with many a catch phrase or tag line, pop culture has taken that and morphed and spoofed it to the limit. (See, e.g. use of “Ding Dong the witch is dead” in relation to the recent passing of a historic figure, and “Where’s the beef” in relation to a certain equine eating panic.) Now there’s a new twist on that sporting enticement, and it’s all thanks to one of the Dakotas. Because, according to that state, “If you bribe them, they will come.”
South Dakota’s got a problem. Within the state, 65% of lawyers live in four urban areas. Since rural folks need representation too, SD became the first state to offer subsidies to lawyers who commit to practicing in rural areas. Come June, up to 16 lawyers can partake in the program. In exchange for a 5 year commitment, each lawyer will receive a $12,000 subsidy. In addition to the state, counties and the bar association will be kicking in to fund the program.
Now only time will tell whether or not South Dakota will become this century’s Horace Greeley, urging the graduating masses to, “Go rural, young lawyers. Go rural, and pay down those debts.”