Like most of rural America, Northern New England is facing a shortage of lawyers in its rural spaces. The three states are facing an aging bar and demographic trends that indicate that this will only continue. The situation is already dire. The Northern New England states currently rank among the oldest states in the country and there are counties where young lawyers are an almost extinct species. The current trends are not unprecedented. As one of the first areas to industrialize, New England saw its young people leave the countryside early and start to flock to growing cities. As the frontier opened, Northern New England also supplied its people to that effort. By the early twentieth century, the region looked moribund. However, developments in the twentieth century helped the region reverse the outmigration trends and begin to thrive again. In recent years, however, Northern New England has begun to resemble its nineteenth century self: its young people are moving to cities and to growing areas in the South and West. This article will analyze the history of Northern New England and argue that this trend is not irreversible and that steps can be taken to entice young lawyers to move back to the region. However, success in this endeavor will require cooperation by the various stakeholders involved and a concerted effort to address the problem.

First Page