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(The New York Times)   This week in Sentences No One Has Said Before: "America is suffering a serious lack of lawyers"   (nytimes.com) divider line 106
    More: Interesting, practice of laws, LexisNexis, oversupply, Rapid City, ABA, practical skills  
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4581 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Apr 2013 at 10:23 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-09 11:23:09 AM  

This text is now purple: Omnivorous: It's not "America" but rural areas.  A retired friend who's a fellow prosecutor in rural Indiana is getting hired on contract by the county as a public defender because the county has so few lawyers (and they HATE hiring city folks).

Lawsuits aren't filed in rural areas. They tend to get shopped to venues in the major cities, which more frequently have sympathetic judges or juries, or award larger awards. Amazingly, that's where the lawyers are.


Know how I know you've never been involved in a large products liability case?
 
2013-04-09 11:26:07 AM  

Sweaty Dynamite: This text is now purple: Omnivorous: It's not "America" but rural areas.  A retired friend who's a fellow prosecutor in rural Indiana is getting hired on contract by the county as a public defender because the county has so few lawyers (and they HATE hiring city folks).

Lawsuits aren't filed in rural areas. They tend to get shopped to venues in the major cities, which more frequently have sympathetic judges or juries, or award larger awards. Amazingly, that's where the lawyers are.

Know how I know you've never been involved in a large products liability case?


That depends on the large city.  New Orleans was labelled a "judicial hell hole" by the ABA (certainly not a conservative organization) back in the 1990's during the heyday of asbestos litigation.  It has not improved.  Plaintiff lawyers love New Orleans and most of our elected judges draw huge campaign contributions from the plaintiffs' bar.  And they get what they pay for.
 
2013-04-09 11:26:14 AM  
theinfosphere.org

I say, I say we certainly are if I'm any example.
 
2013-04-09 11:26:49 AM  
1. Law school is  expensive, and usually paid for via large loans that require a solid paycheck to repay it. 
2. Rural living sucks. It's dead boring. There's a reason small towns have been places that kids leave for college and never come back to for over a century now.
3. Even if rural living didn't suck, there's just no way a lawyer there is going to be able to make the kind of money needed to pay off those law school loans.

1+2+3 = there is zero economic or social incentive for a lawyer to move out there. Until and unless those areas start offering competitive incentives and bonuses, the problem will continue to get worse. That's the free market those Red Staters are supposed to love so much at work.
 
2013-04-09 11:30:20 AM  

Solon Isonomia: If you "need an attorney to do anything," you're either overly litigious or are doing things well outside the bounds of the law.


Or you have a stalker who is both of those. It's a pain in the ass.
 
2013-04-09 11:32:19 AM  

The_Gallant_Gallstone:
Because that program was probably discussing a general trend across the nation while this article is discussing a situation particular to rural areas.


Fair enough, but what's the big problem? I live in a rural area. There are exactly zero lawyers in our small town. When I had to file for divorce, I simply picked up the phone and called someone in Pittsburgh, about an hour's drive away but fortunately it was almost all paperwork, there were no hearings. If there were extensive hearings, I can see how that can really rack up the billable hours, I suppose.
 
2013-04-09 11:38:58 AM  
We do have too many law school graduates.  We don't have too many lawyers, at least in rural areas.  Why?  How can this be?  Recent law school graduates don't have enough experience to be good lawyers, and they can't afford to work in rural areas as an entry-level lawyer to gain that experience.

It's not just people going to third-tier private schools who graduate with a ton of debt.  Even in-state tuition has increased dramatically at some schools - my alma mater, IU law school, has increased in-state tuition from $8,500 a semester in 2007 to $14,300 a semester this spring, and overall has tripled in-state tuition since I started going in the late 90s.  ABA rules prevent a full-time law student from working more than 20 hours a week, so even the most frugal student is going to incur over $100,000 in expense, including room and board, and be unable to work enough during school to pay it off.  And so when he or she graduates with six figures in student loan debt, the newly minted attorney can't afford to go to a rural area to work for a general practitioner for $35,000 a year.
 
2013-04-09 11:42:30 AM  
In addition to Teach For America, have Lawyer For America.

/Be thankful I didn't try to make the acronym LMFAO.
 
2013-04-09 11:42:41 AM  

whistleridge: 1. Law school is  expensive, and usually paid for via large loans that require a solid paycheck to repay it. 
2. Rural living sucks. It's dead boring. There's a reason small towns have been places that kids leave for college and never come back to for over a century now.
3. Even if rural living didn't suck, there's just no way a lawyer there is going to be able to make the kind of money needed to pay off those law school loans.

1+2+3 = there is zero economic or social incentive for a lawyer to move out there. Until and unless those areas start offering competitive incentives and bonuses, the problem will continue to get worse. That's the free market those Red Staters are supposed to love so much at work.


Even beyond the soul-crushing boredom, there's the problem two-income families face.  Even if one person lands a good job in a rural area, the spouse/partner has a hard time finding work that pays anywhere close to what they can earn in a city.  This is why my current employer has a really hard time recruiting people - and why I'm moving to a much bigger city in a couple months.
 
2013-04-09 11:46:20 AM  

Snarfangel: Maybe they can set up remote lawyering. A guy in Sticks, North Dakota (not a real town, I think) teleconferences with a lawyer in Big City, Ohio (not a real city). Maybe set up something like that in the court room too, if they are really desperate. That way, a lawyer could help clients without travelling a thousand miles.


North Dakota does have reciprocity with just about every other state, so an Ohio attorney in good standing (and with five years of practice) could be admitted by motion to the North Dakota Bar.
 
2013-04-09 11:46:31 AM  
Oh, if only there were some magical technology that allowed people to communicate across great distances like 100 miles or so.  But like that's ever going to happen.

\yeah, for criminal defense, I guess you're going to want that one-on-one contact quickly, but for most other legalese...
 
2013-04-09 11:48:48 AM  

give me doughnuts: Snarfangel: Maybe they can set up remote lawyering. A guy in Sticks, North Dakota (not a real town, I think) teleconferences with a lawyer in Big City, Ohio (not a real city). Maybe set up something like that in the court room too, if they are really desperate. That way, a lawyer could help clients without travelling a thousand miles.

North Dakota does have reciprocity with just about every other state, so an Ohio attorney in good standing (and with five years of practice) could be admitted by motion to the North Dakota Bar.


Is that actually common? That would be as motion of pro hac vice, correct? I know that my divorce attorney was licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and Colorado, I assume he probably moved but retained his bar license for his old state.
 
2013-04-09 11:54:44 AM  

GoldDude: Oh, if only there were some magical technology that allowed people to communicate across great distances like 100 miles or so.  But like that's ever going to happen.

\yeah, for criminal defense, I guess you're going to want that one-on-one contact quickly, but for most other legalese...



Many states already have provisions in the court rules where you can "appear" by phone if there is a good reason why you can't show up in person. It wouldn't take much effort to amend them.

But at the same time, small-town attorneys make money through appearance fees. A collections firm might have a half-dozen cases on the docket in East Bucktooth a few days per month, and some local JD is going to make between $50 and $100 per case to represent them at Motion Hour .
 
2013-04-09 11:58:03 AM  
Sendtence patent & copyright trolls to solve the shortage by forcing them to rot in some podunk town.
 
2013-04-09 11:58:56 AM  

nekom: Is that actually common? That would be as motion of pro hac vice, correct? I know that my divorce attorney was licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and Colorado, I assume he probably moved but retained his bar license for his old state.


No.  Many states allow an attorney who has been practicing in good standing in a different state to pay a one time lump sum and be admitted to its bar.

Alas most of the really attractive states don't do that, so it is redo the bar exam for you if you move.
 
2013-04-09 12:00:20 PM  

nekom: give me doughnuts: Snarfangel: Maybe they can set up remote lawyering. A guy in Sticks, North Dakota (not a real town, I think) teleconferences with a lawyer in Big City, Ohio (not a real city). Maybe set up something like that in the court room too, if they are really desperate. That way, a lawyer could help clients without travelling a thousand miles.

North Dakota does have reciprocity with just about every other state, so an Ohio attorney in good standing (and with five years of practice) could be admitted by motion to the North Dakota Bar.

Is that actually common? That would be as motion of pro hac vice, correct? I know that my divorce attorney was licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and Colorado, I assume he probably moved but retained his bar license for his old state.


Yeah, it's pretty common.

 It got so bad in Florida with "snow-birds" from the Northeast coming down for a couple of months and poaching the local clients, that the Florida Bar scrapped all the reciprocity. Now, if you want to proctive law in Florida, you have to take and pass the Florida Bar exam. They don't care if you are a retired Supreme Court Justice, you have to take their test.
 
2013-04-09 12:04:31 PM  
Addendum: the pro hac vice motions aren't that common, anymore. It's the reciprocity agreements, that are pretty common.
 
2013-04-09 12:06:08 PM  

whistleridge: 1. Law school is  expensive, and usually paid for via large loans that require a solid paycheck to repay it. 
2. Rural living sucks. It's dead boring. There's a reason small towns have been places that kids leave for college and never come back to for over a century now.
3. Even if rural living didn't suck, there's just no way a lawyer there is going to be able to make the kind of money needed to pay off those law school loans.

1+2+3 = there is zero economic or social incentive for a lawyer to move out there. Until and unless those areas start offering competitive incentives and bonuses, the problem will continue to get worse. That's the free market those Red Staters are supposed to love so much at work.


According to the article, bootstrappy South Dakota is going to start offering state subsidies.
 
2013-04-09 12:10:09 PM  

nekom: give me doughnuts: Snarfangel: Maybe they can set up remote lawyering. A guy in Sticks, North Dakota (not a real town, I think) teleconferences with a lawyer in Big City, Ohio (not a real city). Maybe set up something like that in the court room too, if they are really desperate. That way, a lawyer could help clients without travelling a thousand miles.

North Dakota does have reciprocity with just about every other state, so an Ohio attorney in good standing (and with five years of practice) could be admitted by motion to the North Dakota Bar.

Is that actually common? That would be as motion of pro hac vice, correct? I know that my divorce attorney was licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and Colorado, I assume he probably moved but retained his bar license for his old state.


Not quite; pro hac vice is admission for a single case only (in Latin it means "for this occasion"); often you have to have some kind of tie to the case outside the state (e.g. you worked on a related case in your home jurisdiction), or sometimes you're required to take on a local attorney as an advisor on local law or something like that.  It's granted case-by-case on petition to the presiding judge.

What he's talking about is "admission on motion" or "admission on waivers," or whatever, depending on the state, and it's actually quite common.  It's basically the state supreme court (or board of bar examiners, or whoever else determines who's qualified to practice law) saying, "OK, this guy practiced in state X for a few years, and doesn't have any malpractice complaints or ethics violations on his record, and now he wants to be licensed to practice here.  So he'd probably pass the bar exam in our state if we made him, but since he's an experienced attorney that's probably not necessary since whatever parts of our law that aren't in common with that of his state he should have enough sense and skill to look up.  So we'll waive the requirement that he pass our state's bar exam and save all of us the trouble."

Whether or not you can do that, of course, depends on where you're licensed and where you want to go.  Some states I imagine are quite free about it, some states only let in attorneys from certain other states, and in others you sometimes need a letter of introduction from an attorney registered in that state and/or have to sign an affidavit stating that you're going to set up a practice there.  Florida doesn't let anyone waive in.

And sometimes, some people take multiple bar exams.  The northeast states seem to stagger the test dates by a few days to let you do that; I had a number of classmates who took the New York & Massachusetts exams back-to-back.  Others take New Jersey & New York, or New Jersey & Pennsylvania, etc.
 
2013-04-09 12:11:13 PM  
whistleridge: "That's the free market those Red Staters are supposed to love so much at work."

But they've never recognized the contrast between their words and their reality when it's come up before.
Their hypocrisy in having their infrastructure subsidized by the very people they hold in contempt is well-traveled ground.
And they've never shown the least bit of shame when it comes time to *demand* the next subsidy.
So why should anyone expect this situation to be any different?

The city folk they hate so much are going to be subsidizing their lawyers the same way they subsidize the roads, water, sewer, data, schools, hospitals and the damn courts themselves.
 
2013-04-09 12:21:34 PM  

JackieRabbit: sure haven't: Because no one wants to live in rural areas anymore.

Why would they? Corruption, racism, ignorance. Everything is amplified in these terrifying little towns. Not to mention the excruciating boredom and general lack of intelligent citizens.

I see you've never spent much time in rural areas. If you think a successful farmer, who manages 5,000 acres and spends $3M/yr to earn $250K is ignorant, you don't know much about agriculture.


Shhh, he's rollin'
 
2013-04-09 12:31:07 PM  
"Good".  The missing word is "Good".
 
2013-04-09 12:32:31 PM  
I am outraged!!  Spending tax money to place lawyers in these towns of parasites??  What would our Savior Ayn Rand say about this sort of socialist claptrap!!  Let the market decide, that's what!!  Acceding to the "needs" of these despicable bottom feeding lazy Communist parasites as if they're people!  What next, a surcharge on gold plated cravats to fund this boondoggle??  No!!!!  Let the Great Chain find a solution, if there needs to be one.
 
2013-04-09 12:38:56 PM  

ThatGuyFromTheInternet: Maybe we could be like other countries and not have everybody need a lawyer for so may parts of life?


That would require you, the ordinary non-lawyer citizen, to stop being such self-absorbed, amoral bastards.   If everytime somebody wronged you, you didn't think "I should sue", If jackpot noises didn't go off in your head when you slipped and fell at the grocery store, and if you'd stop trying to take advantage of everyone you did business with, we lawyers would starve.  but I don;t see that happening anytime soon.

You want to kill the "lawsuit culture" in this country truly dead as a doornail in one easy step?  Vote for Single-payer, universal health care.   The biggest Line item in any lawsuit judgment is "future medical bills",  the second biggest is "medical bills already incurred".   If people could get injured without facing the spectre of bankruptcy, they probably wouldn;t bother suing most of the time but as it is, yeah it may have been an accident, and yeah it was your buddy's housed where you slipped on that ice cube and broke your leg, but you've got a $50k hospital bill and no insurance, so you've got to do SOMETHING
 
2013-04-09 01:03:28 PM  
"America is suffering a serious lack of HONEST lawyers"

true.
 
2013-04-09 01:05:23 PM  
A new client had just come in to see a lawyer. "Can you tell me how much you charge?", said the client.
"Of course", the lawyer replied, "I charge $200 to answer three questions!"
"Well that's a bit steep, isn't it?"
"Yes it is", said the lawyer, "now what's your final question?"


true.
 
2013-04-09 01:11:28 PM  
so many youngsters go into law because they know they'll have the chance to make some dollars.  their talents could be better spent elsewhere, but then they wouldn't be able to impress anyone and say: i'm taking my bar next month.

the bar has a hidden pussy magnet in it.
 
2013-04-09 01:12:55 PM  

Jim.Casy: Interesting. I'll forward this article to all my friends working as baristas, or temps, or some other shiat job, trying to pay down their law school debt because absolutely nobody will hire them as a freakin lawyer. All they need to do is move to rural South Dakota, then they'll be raking in the cash!



well, at least law schools are making a killing.
 
2013-04-09 01:13:48 PM  
99% of our CONgress are lawyers too.


which explains alot............................
 
2013-04-09 01:16:00 PM  
law student 100k in debt?

dont' worry, the tax payer will cover it if need be.
 
2013-04-09 01:24:59 PM  

Linux_Yes: 99% of our CONgress are lawyers too.


which explains alot............................


It explains that they (theoretically) write laws and so should have training in how to interpret and apply those laws?
 
2013-04-09 01:31:31 PM  

Linux_Yes: "America is suffering a serious lack of HONEST lawyers"

true.


That isn't the quality I'm looking for in a lawyer AT ALL. I want a lawyer who I can pay to secure my interests, and I want him or her to be great at doing that. If they lie, it's probably because I'M PAYING THEM TO LIE. And I want them to be a good liar as well. Why? Because the other side is doing it too. Justice is crooked, money talks, and I want my best shot.
 
2013-04-09 01:41:22 PM  

Linux_Yes: so many youngsters go into law because they know they'll have the chance to make some dollars.  their talents could be better spent elsewhere, but then they wouldn't be able to impress anyone and say: i'm taking my bar next month.

the bar has a hidden pussy magnet in it.


That's true. I've heard of bar magnets.
 
2013-04-09 01:42:26 PM  

sure haven't: Because no one wants to live in rural areas anymore.

Why would they?


To get away from ignorant f*cksticks like yourself
 
2013-04-09 01:48:36 PM  

Teiritzamna: Linux_Yes: 99% of our CONgress are lawyers too.


which explains alot............................

It explains that they (theoretically) write laws and so should have training in how to interpret and apply those laws?



Please Proceed.    SFW

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-09-29/business/35494243_1_jo b- creator-investment-income-long-term-care

have a nice day!
 
2013-04-09 01:50:13 PM  

nekom: Linux_Yes: "America is suffering a serious lack of HONEST lawyers"

true.

That isn't the quality I'm looking for in a lawyer AT ALL. I want a lawyer who I can pay to secure my interests, and I want him or her to be great at doing that. If they lie, it's probably because I'M PAYING THEM TO LIE. And I want them to be a good liar as well. Why? Because the other side is doing it too. Justice is crooked, money talks, and I want my best shot.



you are describing the 'greatest country on earth'  and why it has the issues it has.  well done.
 
2013-04-09 01:57:47 PM  

Linux_Yes: Teiritzamna: Linux_Yes: 99% of our CONgress are lawyers too.


which explains alot............................

It explains that they (theoretically) write laws and so should have training in how to interpret and apply those laws?


Please Proceed.    SFW

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-09-29/business/35494243_1_jo b- creator-investment-income-long-term-care

have a nice day!


not entirely sure what that was or what it had to do with anything - but you wished me a nice day, so i say:

I hope yours is nice as well!
 
2013-04-09 02:04:26 PM  

Linux_Yes:
you are describing the 'greatest country on earth'  and why it has the issues it has.  well done.


Hey, I don't like our farked up system either, but I do have to live within its framework. So if they're all a bunch of liars, I want my guy or gal to be the lyingest liar that ever lied if it helps me come out on top.
 
2013-04-09 02:06:40 PM  

Linux_Yes: 99% of our CONgress are lawyers too.
which explains alot............................


37%
 
2013-04-09 02:15:03 PM  

samiamthelaw: Linux_Yes: 99% of our CONgress are lawyers too.
which explains alot............................

37%


you stinker.
 
2013-04-09 02:42:50 PM  
Tom Paxton, Tom Paxton to the white courtesy phone, please.

/One Million Lawyers
//And Other Disasters
 
2013-04-09 02:48:51 PM  

nekom: Linux_Yes: "America is suffering a serious lack of HONEST lawyers"

true.

That isn't the quality I'm looking for in a lawyer AT ALL. I want a lawyer who I can pay to secure my interests, and I want him or her to be great at doing that. If they lie, it's probably because I'M PAYING THEM TO LIE. And I want them to be a good liar as well. Why? Because the other side is doing it too. Justice is crooked, money talks, and I want my best shot.


You've fallen for the fallacy that a liar you're paying will only lie and cheat others, not you. I don't believe you have any first hand experience with attorneys either. Otherwise you would know that a lying sack of shiat attorney (redundant) may lie on your behalf, but they will also do the same to you.

Believe that.
 
2013-04-09 03:07:35 PM  

Sweaty Dynamite: This text is now purple: Omnivorous: It's not "America" but rural areas.  A retired friend who's a fellow prosecutor in rural Indiana is getting hired on contract by the county as a public defender because the county has so few lawyers (and they HATE hiring city folks).

Lawsuits aren't filed in rural areas. They tend to get shopped to venues in the major cities, which more frequently have sympathetic judges or juries, or award larger awards. Amazingly, that's where the lawyers are.

Know how I know you've never been involved in a large products liability case?


I live in Philadelphia. I know of a case where the judge, at pre-trial motions, questioned the parties as to why this obviously alien case hadn't been removed from Philadelphia County. The defense showed him his denied removal motion -- signed by that judge.

Philly's more rotten than a board made of termites.
 
2013-04-09 03:22:56 PM  

nekom: So why do I recall hearing recently on an NPR program (forget which one) that we had a problem of too many lawyers and not enough work for them?


That's better stated as we have too many lawyers who need to earn upper middle class cost of living plus $15,000 and too few of them are perceived to be worth that sort of rate to clients who can pay that much.
 
2013-04-09 03:36:30 PM  

Linux_Yes: 99% of our CONgress are lawyers too.


which explains alot............................


Dead wrong, but a common misperception. Less than 37% are overall and the precentage is shrinking.  If they WERE lawyers they'd write better laws  and the court wouldn't contantly be having to say "WTF did Congress mean by THIS anyway"?
 
2013-04-09 04:27:59 PM  

Magorn: Linux_Yes: 99% of our CONgress are lawyers too.


which explains alot............................

Dead wrong, but a common misperception. Less than 37% are overall and the precentage is shrinking.  If they WERE lawyers they'd write better laws  and the court wouldn't contantly be having to say "WTF did Congress mean by THIS anyway"?


Pretty soon the only lawyers on The Hill will hail from "K" Street.

Who do think actually writes the majority of our laws now?
 
2013-04-09 04:30:33 PM  

This text is now purple: wozzeck: I live about a forty minute train ride from philadelphia

Your profile says you live in Philadelphia.


Ah, well, it doesn't. And its also is the original data I entered seven years ago.
 
2013-04-09 05:45:57 PM  

Linux_Yes: 99% of our CONgress are lawyers too.


which explains alot............................


wut?
 
2013-04-09 05:55:46 PM  

JackieRabbit: sure haven't: Because no one wants to live in rural areas anymore.

Why would they? Corruption, racism, ignorance. Everything is amplified in these terrifying little towns. Not to mention the excruciating boredom and general lack of intelligent citizens.

I see you've never spent much time in rural areas. If you think a successful farmer, who manages 5,000 acres and spends $3M/yr to earn $250K is ignorant, you don't know much about agriculture.


That's on the high end of the bell curve for farmers these days. Heck, the high end of the bell curve for farmers ever. Sort of going to assume that the person you're thinking of is associated with a major corporation of some kind (for both providing capital investments, like seed, machinery, etc.), grows subsidized crops (for ethanol?), and has a fairly large staff of people under them?

Not saying that it's impossible - I know someone in a fairly similar situation, though most of their income is gained through training horses on the side. But he and his family are the only ones I've known who come anywhere near earning $250K / year. Most farmers that I know (or are related to via marriage) are actually working two jobs - one job to pay the bills, and farming because they don't want to let their family land go fallow for too long. It's more expensive for them to try to clear it of small trees and shrubs after 10 years fallow than it is to just grow hay every year and sell it to neighbours.

/Maybe it's different in Northern Ontario, but that's where the successful farmer I know is located. Even the farmers out in Alberta aren't pulling in $250K from their farms.
 
2013-04-09 06:25:14 PM  

Techhell: JackieRabbit: sure haven't: Because no one wants to live in rural areas anymore.

Why would they? Corruption, racism, ignorance. Everything is amplified in these terrifying little towns. Not to mention the excruciating boredom and general lack of intelligent citizens.

I see you've never spent much time in rural areas. If you think a successful farmer, who manages 5,000 acres and spends $3M/yr to earn $250K is ignorant, you don't know much about agriculture.

That's on the high end of the bell curve for farmers these days. Heck, the high end of the bell curve for farmers ever. Sort of going to assume that the person you're thinking of is associated with a major corporation of some kind (for both providing capital investments, like seed, machinery, etc.), grows subsidized crops (for ethanol?), and has a fairly large staff of people under them?

Not saying that it's impossible - I know someone in a fairly similar situation, though most of their income is gained through training horses on the side. But he and his family are the only ones I've known who come anywhere near earning $250K / year. Most farmers that I know (or are related to via marriage) are actually working two jobs - one job to pay the bills, and farming because they don't want to let their family land go fallow for too long. It's more expensive for them to try to clear it of small trees and shrubs after 10 years fallow than it is to just grow hay every year and sell it to neighbours.

/Maybe it's different in Northern Ontario, but that's where the successful farmer I know is located. Even the farmers out in Alberta aren't pulling in $250K from their farms.


So much this. 

I have an ex whose father is a farmer. He inherited something like 7,000 acres from HIS father, along with all of the buildings, equipment, etc that you would need to run it. And for awhile, he did really well: he grew tobacco (it was *heavily* subsidized in NC), a variety of food crops (corn, soy, and some other stuff in rotation), and raised hogs. He's a bright guy - degree in chemistry from UNC, graduated near the top of his class - and a solid businessman.

But his margins were always razor-thing. It was always a question of 'drop $30k to fix the tractor right, or drop $3k to fix it just enough to get by' and stuff like that. The buyers always controlled the prices. Once the tobacco subsidies went away, there was no room for error. After 2 hurricanes in 5 years, he said fark it, sold most of the land (he kept about 100 acres, just because he likes the routine of working the land), and went into hog raising full time. Yeah, it stinks like hell, but he's not at the mercy of the weather, and he's not having to constantly keep track of what is and isn't subsidized this year.

He swears the small farmer is intentionally being driven out of business. I'm inclined to at least partly believe him.
 
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