Applications Now Open For 2022-23 ISBA Rural Practice Fellowship Programs
The ISBA’s Rural Practice Initiative Committee created the Rural Practice Fellowship Programs in 2020 to increase access to attorneys in rural areas of Illinois. The aim of the program is to connect rural and small-town attorneys and law firms looking to hire summer law clerks and full-time associates with law students and newer attorneys interested in practicing law in rural areas of Illinois.
Data shows that more than half of Illinois counties have less than 0.7 lawyers in private practice per 1,000 residents. Thirty-five Illinois counties have ten or fewer attorneys total in private practice, and 13 counties have five or fewer attorneys total in private practice.
The ISBA Standing Committee on the Rural Practice Initiative offers two fellowship programs to address the issue.
The Rural Practice Summer Clerk Fellows Program connects law students with rural practitioners to give them experience working in rural communities before they leave law school. The program includes a $5,000 fellowship stipend and mentoring.
The Rural Practice Associate Fellows Program places graduating law students and new attorneys as permanent associates with rural practitioners. The program includes a $5,000 stipend at the beginning of employment, and an additional $5,000 stipend if the associate is still working for the same firm after one year.
Both programs include programming to help and support the supervising attorneys and the new lawyers to be successful. Both programs also encourage the participants to increase access to justice through the provision of pro bono services.
The deadline for both potential fellows and rural law firms to apply is February 4, 2022.