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Corsica Attorney First For Project Rural Practice

May 7, 2014, 4:46 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Corsica Attorney First For Project Rural Practice

Main Street Corsica is like many other towns in rural South Dakota; there is a grain elevator, a corner market and now a new law firm.

"My dream, my vision, is to be the small-town lawyer and what that means is to do a little bit of everything," Corsica attorney Jake Fischer said.

Fischer joined with the Swier Law Firm to open his first office in Corsica Wednesday.

It’s an opening celebrated by South Dakota lawmakers and top judicial officials throughout the state - like Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertston.

"We just can't have all the lawyers jammed into three or four cities in this state and run an effective legal system," Gilbertson said.

Jake Fischer is the first attorney to take advantage of the Project Rural Practice program, which will provide him with financial support for the first five years to help pay off student loans and the costs of starting a law office.

2013 Story: The Push For Rural Practice

The legislature approved the program in 2013. Right now 65 percent of South Dakota’s attorneys live and work in the state’s four largest cities.

"Once you get married and have your first kid, you think about where you want to raise your family and to me, this was a distinct possibility," Fischer said.

Fischer grew up in Parkston, but went to the University of Minnesota and attended law school there. He got married and had his first child in the Twin Cities before Project Rural Practice helped him make the move back home.

"The program was the linchpin in helping me make the decision. It provides a level of support and security to know I could come home and set up an office and get on my feet and give me a good chance to get things going," Fischer said.

It's the first project in the country that specifically focuses on recruiting young attorneys to live and work in small towns.

"It shows the entire country. It shows the state of South Dakota, and the taxpayers, that here is a program that works, that is supporting the infrastructure of small towns in South Dakota, which are very vital to the ultimate success of this state," Gilbertson said.

Gilbertson hopes to have two to three more attorneys in rural South Dakota counties by the end of the summer.

Fischer will focus on agricultural and estate law at his practice in Corsica but also will work with Douglas County as a court-appointed attorney. He hopes to be successful in one of the state's smallest communities.

"It's a coming home for me and I'm really excited to serve this area,” Fischer said.

Learn more about Project Rural Practice by clicking here.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
This story was corrected to reflect that Fischer's law office is the second law office in Corsica.

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