Current Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) President Dennis Orsey launched the Rural Practice Initiative (RPI) committee as a focus for his 2020-21 term. Shareholder Daniel Thies was named Co-Chair with Lois Wood, former executive director of the Land of Lincoln Legal Aid. They are tasked to increase access to attorneys for rural Illinoisans, as well as to find ways to encourage attorneys to consider practicing in small towns and rural areas. To learn more about the dwindling legal resources for rural populations, read this article in the October 2020 Illinois Bar Journal. For more information on the RPI Committee, visit their website at isba.org/committees/ruralpractice.
Update: The RPI Committee launched the Rural Practice Fellowship Program in December which includes two programs:
- The Rural Practice Summer Fellows program aims to connect law students with rural practitioners and to give them a taste of rural practice before they leave law school. The program includes a $5000 fellowship grant and mentoring.
- The Rural Practice Associate Fellows program aims to place 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.
Webber & Thies, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Champaign-Urbana whose attorneys have been serving Central Illinois for more than 70 years.