Data from the Indiana Supreme Court’s Roll of Attorneys indicates there are far fewer lawyers serving rural Indiana counties than those that serve urban counties.
There are 154 residents for every attorney in Marion county. In rural counties, that number can climb to well over 1,000 residents for every attorney.
Jessica Beheydt is a fellow at Indiana Legal Services, an organization that provides free legal help to individuals who couldn’t otherwise access it. She says people in rural parts of Indiana not only lack access to an attorney, but also struggle with understanding when it’s time to call an attorney.
“A lot of our clients didn’t know that some of the issues that they’re having are legal issues in the first place, and so they don’t know to even reach out for our help,” she says.
Beheydt says there are resources to help connect lawyers to folks who need them, but admits more could be done.
An information session on legal needs in rural Indiana occurred as part of the Indiana University Rural Conference in French Lick, which runs through Tuesday.