Indian Country and rural South Dakota.

Author:Laplante, Leroy
Position:Project Rural Practice Symposium

Thank you, I am always really humbled when I am invited back to USD. (1) I have been back to the law school a couple of times since I graduated and given some talks during the Indian Law Symposium and other events, and I am always glad to be here. I want to thank the Law Review for inviting me. From what I understand, you have put together a great conference. It takes me back to when I was a law student putting together symposiums; I know it is a lot of work, so congratulations on a successful event and thank you for inviting me. I am honored by the invitation, and I am very humbled to be on this panel with these distinguished gentlemen.

I think it is appropriate that Mr. Tom Barnett reflected on the rural practice project and talked a lot about the legislative process because that part is really important. I had the distinct opportunity and pleasure of seeing some of the very beginnings of this idea, this concept of how we can draw attention to rural South Dakota where everyone is moving away from. Attorneys were moving to larger areas, so we were trying to figure out how to bring attention to getting attorneys back to rural South Dakota. And then once we get them there, what do these rural attorneys need to succeed?

When I was a law student here, I took a class called Legislation. One of my classmates was a young lady by the name of Sarah Williamson Larson, who I believe is in the room today.

We took Legislation together from Professor Patrice Kunesh. We all had to draft a bill as one of our assignments for the class, so I was working on a bill that would help draw practitioners to Indian Country. Sarah's bill was about how to draw lawyers to rural South Dakota. Mine would have been introduced as a piece of tribal or federal legislation, and Sarah's as a piece of state legislation. We exchanged notes and ideas, but Sarah really had the vision then. She saw the need, even as a student. If I am not mistaken, I believe Sarah's draft bill on the need to pass a law promoting rural practice was sent up to Pierre at some point during this process.

I am excited because there is a need for a lot of laws to impact rural South Dakota because we all know that rural South Dakota is changing. In the three short years that I have been the Tribal Relations Secretary, I have seen a lot of things done that are really positively impacting rural South Dakota. Not least of which is Senate Bill 70, which was passed last year, and calls for us to take a look at...

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