Legal Deserts: A Multi-State Perspective on Rural Access to Justice

By: Lisa R. Pruitt, Amanda L. Kool, Lauren Sudeall, Michelle Statz, and Danielle M. Conway. Published in Harvard Law & Policy Review. Published on July 6, 2018.

Link to article

Link to pdf

In this article, the authors use state-specific data to better understand the access-to-justice challenges in rural America. It breaks down the number of attorneys per county, region, and state and cross-references this against population density and poverty rate.

Highlights include:

  • “If a lack of rural lawyers results in a disproportionate percentage of rural legal issues going unaddressed, then these already-disproportionate rural social problems will be compounded. This is a problem at both the individual level— earning not enough lawyers or other forms of legal assistance are available to support the legal services needs of individuals—and at the policy level, where lawmakers might better understand how rural problems and their solutions differ from those in urban areas” (p. 21).
  • “While about 20% of our nation’s population lives in rural America, only 2% of our nation’s small law practices are located there” (p. 22)


Categories: Legal Aid Attorneys, Legal Aid Practitioners, Researchers and Academics, Rural, Rural, State Comparison

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