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Chief justice updates legislature on rural lawyers, drug courts

When David Gilbertson delivered his State of the Judiciary address last Wednesday he updated lawmakers on programs that got their start under his direction as chief justice.

Gilbertson called South Dakota’s Rural Attorney Program the “gold standard,” noting that states as large and populous as California and New York are having trouble attracting attorneys to rural areas.

The South Dakota program originally matched attorneys with rural counties that didn’t have a lawyer. Of the 48 counties that are eligible for the program, Gilbertson said that 24 of them have lawyers under contract.

Last year the program was expanded to municipalities with populations of 3,500 or less. Elk Point will be the first to get an attorney through the program.


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