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Associated Press, Published June 02 2012

Lawyers probing oil boom impact on ND legal system

BISMARCK — North Dakota's Bar Association plans to explore the impact of the state's oil boom on access to the legal system.

The Bar Association represents the state's lawyers. President Kristi Pettit Venhuizen says oil development has meant more work for the courts and attorneys alike.

Venhuizen says it's harder to find lawyers for family law and criminal defense work, and it's taking longer to get hearings in civil cases.

A task force is holding meetings in Bismarck, Dickinson, Williston and Minot later this month to gather information. Venhuizen says the data will be used to suggest ways the Legislature can help ease the problems of the justice system.

Bismarck attorney Jack McDonald is serving as the task force's chairman. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is one of its members.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.