Friday, May 11, 2012

Iowa bar and local law schools team up to place students in small town practices

Finding good mentors is key if you're planning to launch a solo practice after graduation. Just ask this guy. The National Law Journal has a story from Iowa where the state bar, local law schools and small town practitioners have gotten together to arrange mentoring relationships that will help recent grads develop practices in underserved small towns.

Clerkships match students to small town law practices

The number of lawyers in rural areas across the country is in decline as aging attorneys retire. The relatively low pay and small-town lifestyle has made a solo practice in a rural area a hard sell to many younger attorneys.

The Iowa State Bar Association is launching an effort to introduce would-be lawyers to life as small town attorneys, which often entails being a legal jack-of-all-trades.

The bar has teamed up with the University of Iowa College of Law, Drake University Law School and Creighton University School of Law to match seven law students with solo practitioners or small firms in Iowa towns for clerkships this summer. The hope is that those students will develop a taste for the work and either return after they graduate or set up their own small-town practices, said attorney Philip Garland, co-chairman of the bar's rural practice committee.

"We want to keep people in small towns," Garland said, noting that many Iowans from small towns now travel to larger cities for legal services. "We want legal services to be accessible, and lawyers do a lot for the community."

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