Section 1. Authority and Purpose. Under N.D. Const. art. VI, § 3, and N.D.C.C. ch. 27-02.2, the supreme court through this rule establishes a Rural Attorney Recruitment Program to assist counties and municipalities in recruiting attorneys.
Section 2. County or Municipality Application. A county or municipality interested in participating in the program must submit an application to the supreme court. The application must include:
(a) An explanation of the county or municipality’s need for an attorney and its ability to sustain and support an attorney.
(b) Detailed information on:(1) The demographics of the county or municipality, including population;(2) The age and number of the members of the county or local bar association;(3) Economic development programs within the county or municipality.(c) A written recommendation from the presiding judge of the judicial district in which the county or municipality is located.
The applicant county or municipality must agree that, if they are selected for participation in the program, they will pay their portion of the incentive payment as required under N.D.C.C. § 27-02.2-06.
Section 3. Assessment.
(a) On receipt of an application from a county or municipality desiring to participate in the program, the supreme court will appoint a three-member temporary committee to assess the application. The membership of the temporary committee will consist of a district judge, an attorney and a court administrator.
(b) The committee must determine whether the county or municipality is eligible to participate in the program based on the requirements listed in N.D.C.C. §§ 27-02.2-02 and 27-02.2-03.
(c) If the county or municipality is eligible, the committee will evaluate the information in the application to assess whether the applicant needs an attorney and has the ability to sustain and support an attorney.
(d) In its evaluation of the application, the committee must consider:(1) The information provided by the applicant under subsection (2)(b);(2) The presiding judge recommendation required under subsection (2)(c);(3) The geographical location of the applicant in comparison to other counties or municipalities participating in the program;(4) Any prior participation in the program by the county or municipality.(e) In assessing the information provided in the application, the committee may conduct whatever outside research it considers appropriate. On completion of its evaluation, the committee must transmit its recommendations in writing to the supreme court.
(f) The supreme court may revise the assessment of any county or municipality or appoint a temporary committee to conduct a new assessment.
Section 4. Attorney Application.
(a) An attorney selected for participation in the program must locate their law office in the participating county or municipality, locate their residence in close proximity to the participating county or municipality, and carry malpractice insurance. The attorney applicant must agree to live and practice law full-time in the participating community for at least five consecutive years. Participants in the program will be required to make an annual declaration confirming their continued practice and residence in the applicable county or municipality.
(b) An attorney interested in participating in the program must submit an application to the supreme court. The application must include:(1) A Certificate of Good Standing showing that the applicant is licensed to practice law in the state of North Dakota;(2) Proof that the applicant is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or permanent resident of the U.S.;(3) A copy of the applicant’s law school transcript;(4) Information about the applicant’s participation in any scholarship, loan repayment or tuition reimbursement program that obligated the applicant to provide attorney services within an under served area;(5) Information about whether the applicant was ever subject to an investigation or disciplinary action by any bar association;(6) Information about the applicant’s criminal history, including any felony or misdemeanor convictions.
Section 5. Administration.
(a) The office of state court administrator must:(1) maintain a list of counties and municipalities that have been assessed and selected for participation in the program;(2) inform the state bar association of North Dakota and the applicable county or municipality when an applicant has been selected for participation in the program;(3) inform program participants if one of the entities responsible for payment fails to deposit their share of funding.(b) Before July 1 of each year, the supreme court must submit a report on the status of the program to legislative management.
Rule 62 was adopted effective September 22, 2021.
CONSIDERED: N.D.C.C. ch. 27-02.2.