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    Find a Lawyer | Free & Low Cost Help | Other Helpful Resources
    PublicationsTrainings About the Profession | Lawyer Discipline
    Licensing & Bar Exam |Court Information | Rural Practice

    Public Resources

    The State Bar of South Dakota is unable to provide advice, counsel or representation to members of the public concerning specific legal matters. Please do not call or email the State Bar seeking information on legal matters. Below is a list of resources you may find useful in determining appropriate next steps for your particular situation. 

    Find A Lawyer in SD

    The State Bar of South Dakota Lawyer Referral Service is a public service to help you find a qualified, local lawyer. Search for a lawyer by a variety of criteria including type of case, location and keyword. This attorney referral service is free for the public to use, but the referral service does not obligate the attorney participants to provide free legal advice or services.

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    Free & Low Cost Legal Help

    UJS Self Help Center 
    Locate court forms and information on how to represent yourself in South Dakota court. 

    SD Law Help 
    A collaborative effort to promote equal justice by providing legal assistance, education and resources to qualifying individuals across South Dakota. Apply for legal help here.

    Access to Justice, Inc. 
    The State Bar of South Dakota Pro Bono Program  is a private, nonprofit program whose mission is to encourage local attorneys to do free legal work for civil matters in their communities. For criminal matters, please contact your local public defender’s office.  A2J also provides legal assistance through a modest means (low cost) legal assistance program to individuals living at 200% or below the federal poverty income guidelines who are not veterans, elderly or individuals with disabilities.

    East River Legal Services
    A private, non-profit legal organization that provides free civil legal assistance to low income persons in 33 counties in eastern South Dakota.

    Dakota Plains Legal Services 
    A private, non-profit legal organization that provides free legal assistance to low income persons in 33 counties in western South Dakota and all reservations within the state of South Dakota. Accepts civil legal issues and tribal criminal and civil issues. 

    SD Free Legal Answers
    A secure website where lower income South Dakota residents can ask an attorney for help with a legal issue. Legal Answers uses technology to increase access to legal help while making pro bono easy for attorneys.

    Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault & Stalking 
    Free legal services, including immigration legal services, are available to survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking through the South Dakota Network. 

    Disability Rights South Dakota
    South Dakota’s gubernatorial designated protection and advocacy (P&A) system provides legal representation and other advocacy services to all eligible persons with disabilities.

    Guardianship Establishment Program 
    To assist families or friends of adults with developmental disabilities pay legal costs up to $500 associated with establishing a guardianship and/or conservatorship.

    South Dakota Guardianship Program
    The Guardianship Program is a private, non-profit organization that can provide: (1) professional services for people who need protection; (2) legal assistance with guardianship proceedings; (3) act as Court Representative in cases where the Court requests an objective investigation; (4) conduct Assessments to determine whether guardianship/conservatorship is appropriate; (5) offer estate planning services for parents who have children with disabilities. For assistance, please call: 1-866-228-9119. 

    American Civil Liberties Union
    A private, non-profit that accepts individual and class action lawsuits that have the potential to change the law and broaden and strengthen civil liberties in South Dakota.

    Tax Assistance 
    The USD School of Law federal tax clinic provides free legal representation to low-income people in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) while allowing law students to practice tax law.

    IRS Taxpayer Advocate
    Ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and knows and understands their rights.

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    Other Helpful Resources

    Below is a snapshot of other resources available to South Dakotans. This is not a comprehensive list and it is recommended to complete your own search to locate resources available to your situation.


    What they do/How they may help you

    Department of Human Services

    Ombudsman Program


    Mandated by the US Administration on Aging to advocate for and protect the rights of residents of nursing and assisted living facilities.

    Rehabilitation Services


    Provide individually prescribed training, counseling and job placement services that allow eligible individuals with disabilities to become employed.

    Services to the Blind or Visually Impaired

    Provide individualized rehabilitation services that result in employment and independent living outcomes for citizens who are blind or visually impaired.

    Division of Developmental Disabilities

    Provides support to people with developmental disabilities and their families.

    Department of Labor and Management

    Workers Compensation

    Workers’ compensation provides benefits if you become injured or ill from your job. If your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, you would be covered for qualifying injuries.

    Division of Human Rights

    The Division of Human Rights administers the SD Human Relations Act by: (1) investigating formal complaints filed by people who believe they have been discriminated against, (2) offering technical assistance to employers, labor unions, real estate agents, landlords and any others interested.

    Division of Insurance

    Division regulates and monitors insurance companies, various associated insurance industry entities and insurance agents who are conducting business in South Dakota. This regulatory oversight ensures all entities are properly licensed and/or registered in our state and operating in compliance with state laws and rules.

    Unemployment Appeals

    Unemployment insurance provides temporary financial assistance for persons who have lost their jobs, through no fault of their own, until they find other employment. South Dakota's unemployment insurance program is financed by employers through payroll taxes. Employers are subject to unemployment insurance (UI) tax if they meet certain criteria. When a person becomes unemployed, benefits are paid to the person if he or she is an eligible claimant


    The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation may only handle union issues associated with South Dakota's public employees.

    Department of Social Services

    Behavioral Health


    Ensures children and adults with mental health disorders and chemical dependency in South Dakota communities have the opportunity to choose and receive effective services needed to promote resilience and recovery. 

    Child Protection Services

    Works with families in difficult situations by receiving and assessing reports of child abuse and neglect, providing services to families and connecting parents with resources to help increase their ability to keep children safe. The Division also administers the state's foster care and adoption services and licensing of child welfare agencies.

    Child Support

    Helps parents establish a financial partnership to support their children when they do not live together.

    Child Support Enforcement


    Services provided by the Division of Child Support include: (1) Locating noncustodial parents; (2) Establishing paternity; (3) Establishing or modifying child support and medical support orders; (4) Enforcing support orders; (5) Enforcing alimony if a child support order is being enforced; (6) Collecting and processing support payments.

    Services not provided by the Division of Child Support include: (1) visitation and custody issues.  If you do not have a court order for parenting time or have a court order and are having problems with parenting time, check our UJS Pro Se forms. (2) Divorce assistance; (3) Alimony; (4) Legal advice or counsel.

    Medical Services

    Oversees all areas of the Medicaid Program, except for the eligibility criteria which is handled by the Division of Economic Assistance.

    Economic Assistance

    Provides medical, nutritional, financial, and case management services to lower income families, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. This includes: SNAP, TANF, Energy Assistance, Medical Eligibility, CAP, CHIP.

    Attorney General’s Office

    Consumer Protection

    Major responsibilities of the Division of Consumer Protection: (1) Investigate false, misleading, or deceptive trade practices; (2) Enforce consumer laws designed to protect the public and legitimate business community; (3) Advise consumers of their basic rights under consumer laws; (4) Distribute consumer education materials; (5) Assist in the preparation of legislation designed to protect consumers; (6) Participate in multi-jurisdictional actions with other state and federal law enforcement agencies (7) Advise consumers of complaints on file against specific companies

    Open Meetings Commission

    Complaints alleging violations of the state open meetings laws must be filed with the States Attorney where the alleged violation occurred. 

    Medicaid Fraud Unit

    The vast majority of Medicaid providers are honest and follow the law. However, the few who engage in fraudulent or questionable practices are costing the citizens of South Dakota. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) was established as a division of the Office of Attorney General in 1984 to address this problem.

    Other Resources

    Social Security Administration

    Apply for social security disability, SSI or retirement benefits.

    IRS Taxpayer Advocate

    Ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and knows and understands their rights.

    Veteran’s Administration Regional Office

    Healthcare, VA Benefits, including education and training, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, burials and memorial information

    U.S. Citizen & Immigration Service


    Apply for citizenship, passports, green cards. Locate forms and legal resources on immigration law.


    The Helpline connects individuals to resources and support, provides referrals, builds local agency’s volunteers, offers hope to individuals with thoughts of suicide and supporting families bereaved by a suicide loss.

    South Dakota Legislature

    Review South Dakota statutes and administrative rules. Locate contact information for legislators.

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    With the help of its sections and committees, the State Bar has compiled resources on a number of legal topics. These documents are based on South Dakota law and are designed to inform, not advise.  No person should ever apply or interpret any law without the aid of an attorney who knows the facts and may be aware of any changes in the law. Also included is a link to the University of South Dakota School of Law LibGuides, which provide research tools and publications on a variety of law-related topics.

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    The State Bar assists in the development of trainings that are required for members of the public. When that happens, you will find the trainings here.

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    About the Profession

    Rules of Professional Conduct 
    The Rules of Professional Conduct are intended to regulate professional conduct of attorneys licensed by the Supreme Court and in good standing with the State Bar. The rules have been adopted by the State Bar and approved by the Supreme Court pursuant to statute to protect the public and to promote respect and confidence in the legal profession. 

    Lawyer Conduct/Lawyer Discipline 
    Members of the State Bar have adopted high standards which define proper and improper conduct for a lawyer handling legal matters. To maintain these standards, a system of self-discipline  has been created and is administered through the Disciplinary Board of the State Bar, the Attorney General of the State of South Dakota, and the South Dakota Supreme Court.

    Licensing & Bar Exam
    No person, except as provided in SDCL §16-18-2, may practice as an attorney and counselor at law in any court of record within South Dakota, without obtaining a license from the Supreme Court and becoming an active member in good standing of the State Bar. To learn more about the rules for admission to practice law in South Dakota, please click here.

    Court Information
    A snapshot view of our state, federal and tribal court structure along with helpful links to help you locate the information you may need.

    SD Supreme Court Opinions 
    The opinions posted are slip opinions subject to revision and correction. The official opinions of the South Dakota Supreme Court are those published in the bound volumes of the North Western Reporter. 

    Rural Attorney Recruitment Program 
    This program provides qualifying attorneys an incentive payment in return for five (5) continuous years of practice in an eligible rural county. 

    Project Rural Practice 
    Collaborates with the Unified Judicial System on the implementation of the Rural Attorney Recruitment Program to assure that all citizens within the State of South Dakota have access to quality attorneys. Promotes practicing in rural South Dakota by hosting events at the law school and throughout the state. Provides news and resources to South Dakota rural practitioners.

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