Monday, May 13, 2013

Many rural Georgia counties short of lawyers, though profession in the state has a high unemployment rate

Rural areas have struggled to attract lawyers, who often can't afford to pay their student debts on the compensation available in rural communities and who find the lure of urban life much more attractive to a young person just starting their careers.

In Georgia, 81 percent of the state's lawyers work in metropolitan Atlanta, while six of the 159 counties don't have any lawyers, and five have just one. In some cases, the closest attorney is 50 miles away, reports Dan Chapman for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In Clay County, in southwest Georgia, 36 percent of the 3,000 residents live below the poverty line, and no one practices law full-time in the county.

Even as rural towns go wanting for lawyers, a third of the state's 2012 law-school graduates who passed the bar exam haven't found work, and the unemployment rate for lawyers is 11.5 percent, well above the state average. Meanwhile, those in need of legal service often have to turn to free non-profit help, or go without representation. (Read more)

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