Ohio’s rural communities seek engaged, ambitious lawyers to fill gaps left by retiring lawyers. The Foundation works with partners statewide to encourage lawyers to choose rural Ohio to help ensure access to justice for all.

“Every Ohioan should have access to justice. Working together, we will close the gap in legal services in Ohio.”

Chief Justice Sharon Kennedy, Supreme Court of Ohio


Nearly every state in the nation has large stretches of rural areas and counties with few practicing lawyers or no lawyers at all. These “legal deserts” threaten our nation’s promise of justice for all.
When there are no local lawyers, rural residents must travel long distances to find legal help with routine matters that affect their everyday lives, such as wills, divorces, and minor criminal and civil cases.
As the state’s access to justice entity, the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation is working with justice partners to address this challenge in Ohio through the Rural Practice Incentive Program and other initiatives.
of attorneys practice in just six Ohio counties.


An exciting new program led by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the Supreme Court of Ohio, and the Ohio State Bar Association is helping newly licensed attorneys choose underserved communities for their practice.
The Rural Practice Incentive Program offers loan repayment assistance to increase the number of attorneys practicing in rural counties so that all Ohioans can access high-quality legal services. The Foundation identifies a county as underserved if it has more than 700 residents for each private lawyer. Requirements for the program and application details are available on ODHE’s website.