Section 1. A pilot program shall be established to assist rural communities in recruiting attorneys. The program shall be administered by the office of the Attorney General. The program shall accept ten attorneys per year for ten years.
Section 2. A community eligible to participate in the recruitment assistance pilot program shall be located in a county or former county in Massachusetts which:
(1) Has a population of two hundred fifty thousand persons or less
(2) Is determined to be eligible by the Attorney General
Section 3. In making the selection of the participating communities, the Attorney General shall be guided by:
(1) Demographics of the county or former county;
(2) Age and number of the current membership of the local bar
(3) Programs of economic development within the community
(4) Geographical location to other communities receiving assistance;
(5) Evaluation of the attorney seeking assistance under this program;
(6) Not more than three participants per year shall be practice in the same county or former county
Section 4. An attorney licensed to practice in Massachusetts is eligible to participate in the recruitment assistance pilot program established pursuant to this Act. The attorney shall agree to practice in an eligible rural community for at least five years. No more than a total of 100 attorneys may participate in the program. No attorney may be added to the program ten years after the date of implementation.
Section 5. Any attorney who fulfills the requirements of the recruitment assistance pilot program established pursuant to this Act, is entitled to receive an incentive payment in five equal annual installments, each in an amount equal to Seventy-Five percent of the average tuition and fees charged at Massachusetts law schools as determined on July 1, 2017
If the attorney has received a payment pursuant to this Act and subsequently breeches the agreement, the attorney shall repay all sums received pursuant to this Act under the terms and conditions set by the Attorney General’s Office. Failure to make repayment is grounds for discipline by the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers and the Supreme Judicial Court.
Section 6. No recruitment assistance agreement entered into pursuant to the provisions of this Act is effective until it is filed with and approved by the Attorney General. The agreement shall provide that the attorney practice law full-time in the eligible community for at least five years.
Section 7. No person may participate in the program established pursuant to the provisions of this Act if the person has previously participated in the program, or any other state or federal scholarship, loan repayment, or tuition reimbursement program that obligates the person to provide attorney services within an underserved area.
Section 8. There is hereby appropriated from the general fund the sum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000), or so much thereof as may be necessary, to a new line item within the Attorney General’s office to provide payments described in section 5 of this Act.
Section 9. Any amounts appropriated in this Act not lawfully expended or obligated shall revert to the general fund.
Section 10. The Attorney General shall annually file with the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, The Joint Committee on Higher Education, and the Supreme Judicial Court, a report on the status of the program.
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