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USD School of Law, South Dakota Law Review to host Rural Practice Symposium March 20-21

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota School of Law will host a Rural Practice Symposium, March 20-21. Students, practitioners, scholars and the public are invited to join the discussion about the rapidly declining number of attorneys in rural areas across the United States.

The event begins at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 20 with a keynote address by South Dakota Chief Justice David Gilbertson at the law school courtroom and features panel discussions and dialogue about the problems facing rural practitioners and legal consultants across the nation as they examine new solutions for revitalizing rural America. The South Dakota Law Review will address South Dakota’s innovative rural lawyer recruitment legislation as well as different programs being implemented in other states; and Linda A. Klein, past chair of the American Bar Association's House of Delegates, will lead a panel discussion at the symposium.

Additional highlights of the symposium include a panel discussion at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 21 followed by Professor Lisa R. Pruitt of the University of California, Davis, guest speaker at noon on Friday, March 21 at the Muenster University Center ballroom. Pruitt has published an impressive collection of peer-reviewed articles concerning rural legal issues and access to justice. She noted that South Dakota’s initiative is an excellent step in providing legal services to all rural Americans.

“Project Rural Practice is a strong step toward facilitating access to justice for South Dakota’s rural residents,” Pruitt added, “and it is a model for how other states might do the same for 51 million rural Americans.”

USD School of Law Dean Thomas Geu expressed his enthusiasm for the event, specifically on how Project Rural Practice showcases the interconnectedness of the entire legal community in South Dakota.

“The symposium is an example of the close working relationship between the law school, the legal profession, the judiciary and the citizens of South Dakota and the region,” Geu stated. “Needless to say, I am proud that at least 70 percent of South Dakota’s lawyers chose to get their law degree here.”

For more information about the symposium or the USD School of Law, please visit


USD’s Knudson School of Law prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota, including in rural areas where the demand is great, and for private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. Its joint degree program allows students to also earn one of nine master’s degrees within the traditional three-year law curriculum, which includes course tracks in business, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, environmental, Indian, real estate and tax law as well as civil litigation and estate planning.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News