Rural Lawyers Project

The population of lawyers in rural Maine is rapidly declining and aging. The ensuing legal crisis faced by rural Mainers fundamentally compromises their quality of life and access to justice.

The Challenge

Rural communities in Maine face a crisis in accessing legal representation. More than half of the state’s lawyers live or practice in southern Maine’s Cumberland County. The relatively few rural lawyers in the state are aging rapidly, usually with no replacement to take over their practice.

The Solution

Innovative, forward-thinking, and impactful, the Rural Lawyer Project tackles a critical issue afflicting rural communities statewide and beyond. The recipients of the 10-week fellowships have the opportunity to engage actively in rural practices, alongside their experienced mentors, where they gain experience in a wide variety of legal matters.

The Results

In 2018, four fellows served in law offices in Aroostook, Piscataquis, and Washington counties. They returned to Maine Law with in-depth understanding of and hands-on experience in rural practices to supplement their studies. During the 10-week fellowship, these four law students learned that being a small-town attorney requires versatility, verve, and handling adversity.

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