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

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