In March of this year, the Governor of South Dakota signed HB1096, legislation designed to encourage lawyers to practice in underserved areas of the state. The majority of South Dakota lawyers are now concentrated in four counties — Minnehaha, Pennington, Hughes and Brown – which contain the state’s major cities, leaving much of the state’s population without many attorneys nearby. A pilot program for eligible South Dakota counties with a population of 10,000 or less will begin July 1, 2013. Subsidies provided for lawyers who make a commitment to practice in these counties for five years will be paid from a combination of county, bar association, and state funds. Similar programs have long been used to recruit doctors to practice in rural areas.

New York Times: No Lawyer for Miles, so One Rural State Offers Pay, by Ethan Bronner

ABA Journal: South Dakota Lures Lawyers to Rural Areas with Annual Subsidies