Saturday, December 4, 2021


A new report shows, despite getting billions under the American Rescue Plan, many airlines continue to disrupt travelers' plans with cancellations, and Congress averts a government shutdown for now.


U.S. House passes a stopgap government funding bill; the Omicron variant is found in Minnesota; Biden administration revives the "Remain in Mexico" policy; and the Bidens light the National Christmas Tree.


Seniors in non-urban areas struggle with hunger disproportionately; rural communities make a push for federal money; and Planned Parenthood takes a case to the Montana Supreme Court.

Is ND Turning Into a Legal Desert?


Monday, October 4, 2021   

MINOT, N.D. - North Dakota has just had a new class of attorneys admitted to the state bar. But some in the legal community feel there aren't enough new lawyers coming along, making it harder for the average person to defend themselves in court.

The state Supreme Court says last week, 36 new lawyers were sworn in. While data for this year is incomplete, North Dakota added fewer than 200 lawyers each of the last five years, after staying above that mark between 2012 and 2015.

Rich LeMay, executive director of Legal Services of North Dakota, said when helping clients in eviction court, he sees too many others without legal assistance.

"Reality is if you don't have legal representation," said LeMay, "your chances of succeeding in a court hearing are next to none."

A recent report from the American Bar Association found that North Dakota actually saw a 21% increase in its lawyer stock between 2010 and 2020. But the report cautions attorneys aren't evenly distributed, and that rural areas see the biggest shortages.

Those same findings noted that North Dakota has slightly more than two lawyers per 1,000 residents.

Some legal groups say the issue underscores the need for reform, including doing away the with the bar exam - arguing it keeps marginalized individuals from entering the profession.

LeMay said he's unsure whether the industry needs to go that far. He said he sees student debt and lower pay affecting where people work, and the type of law they want to practice.

"That really limits the ability for attorneys who want to do public interest or poverty law," said LeMay.

LeMay said reforms around those issues might prompt more aspiring attorneys to enter and stay in the legal aid arena. He said he worries that removing the bar exam would usher in a wave of attorneys who might not have the best interests of their clients in mind.

Disclosure: Legal Services of North Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, Native American Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Indigenous people in Peru demonstrate against oil drilling in 2013. (Amazon Watch)


LOS ANGELES -- California-based facilities are refining half of all the oil drilled in the Amazon rain forests, according to a new report by the …


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- People who live on the Navajo Nation near the San Juan Basin are closely following work by the Environmental Protection Agency (…

Social Issues

PHOENIX -- A new report shows, despite getting billions of dollars from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan, many airlines continue …

From left, Andrea Comer, committee chairwoman, Connecticut Social Equity Council, and Carlton Highsmith, Joseph Carbone and Fred McKinney announce the Alliance for Cannabis Equity on Tuesday in Hamden, Conn. (The Narrative Project)

Social Issues

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Connecticut is among several states working on what its new recreational marijuana industry will look like, and a new coalition …

Social Issues

PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. -- Broadband gaps affect many facets of life, including education. The new federal infrastructure plan includes money to expand …

Hastings-on-Hudson is currently the highest-ranking town in New York State's Climate Smart Communities program. (Adobe Stock)


HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- One of the major takeaways from last month's big climate conference in Scotland is, all levels of government need to …

Social Issues

ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has released a new report this week, with recommendations from educators about how best to …

Social Issues

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Maryland civil rights groups are proposing a lawsuit against Baltimore County if it adopts its current redistricting plan, claiming …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021