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Indiana Supreme Court convenes panel on future of legal profession amid worsening attorney shortage

Loretta Rush gestures while speaking as she sits in a Supreme Court conference room. Rush is a White woman with light brown hair, wearing glasses and a light-colored jacket over a dark top.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush is part of an 18-month national study committee called the Committee on Legal Education and Admissions Reform.

As Indiana faces a worsening attorney shortage, the state Supreme Court is convening a commission to develop solutions for the future of Indiana’s legal profession.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush said the state’s critical shortage, particularly in rural communities, creates an access to justice problem.

“We’ve got to adapt and change in making sure that you have fair, efficient — that you can afford legal services when some of your dearest rights are at stake,” Rush said.

The commission will look at alternative licensure options, incentivizing public service and rural legal practices, and pathways to admission and education, among other issues.

READ MORE: Attorney shortages in Indiana create ‘access to justice problem’

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And Rush said initial recommendations for potential legislative and funding changes are due by Aug. 1, ahead of 2025’s budget-writing legislative session.

“You can committee these things to death, but what are the short-term solutions?” Rush said. “And let’s look at those.”

A final report from the commission is due July 1, 2025.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.