Legal Incubators

Lawyer Incubator Profiles

Does your program need a profile? Email briana.billingslea@americanbar.org.

ARIZONA

Arizona State University, Sandrchaa Day O'Connor College of Law
University of Arizona, Jampacees E. Rogers College of Law

ARKANSAS

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

CALIFORNIA

Bay Area Legal Incubator
California Lawyers for the Arts
California Western School of Law
Chapman University, Fowler School of Law
Community Law Practice Incubator
Family Justice Center
Legal Aid Society of Orange County
Los Angeles Incubator Consortium
Monterey College of Law

Public Interest Advocacy Collaborative
RoyseLaw Community Legal Services
Sustainable Economies Law Center Fellowship Program
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Whittier Law School (Whittier Legal Access Program)

COLORADO

Community Legal Center

CONNECTICUT

University of Connecticut School of Law and the Hartford County Bar Association
Justice Legal Center at the Center for Family Justice

FLORIDA

Florida International University College of Law
Nova Southeastern University | Shepard Broad College of Law  
St. Thomas University School of Law
The Legal LABB, Inc.

GEORGIA

Lawyers for Equal Justice, Inc. 

HAWAI'I

Hawai'i Emerging Legal Practitioners (HELP) Access to Justice Project

ILLINOIS

Chicago Bar Foundation
IIT Chicago–Kent College of Law

LOUISIANA

Louisiana State Bar Association
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

MAINE

Maine Community Law Center

MASSACHUSETTS

Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, and Northeastern University School of Law
University of Massachusetts School of Law

MICHIGAN

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

MINNESOTA

Collaborative Community Law Initiative (CCLI)

MISSOURI

Midwest Center for Law and Justice
University of Missouri–Kansas City

NEW JERSEY

Rutgers School of Law

NEW MEXICO

New Mexico State Bar Foundation

NEW YORK

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University
New York City Bar Association and the City University of New York School of Law
Pace University School of Law
Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

NORTH CAROLINA

Elon Law School

OHIO

Akron Bar Association
Cleveland–Marshall College of Law
Columbus Bar
Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services

OKLAHOMA

University of Tulsa College of Law

OREGON

Clackamas Women's Services
The Commons Law Center

PENNSYLVANIA

Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services
The University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Widener University School of Law and Dauphin County Bar Association

RHODE ISLAND

Rhode Island Center for Justice

SOUTH DAKOTA

Collaborative Legal Incubator Program (CLIP), East River Legal Services

TEXAS

State Bar of Texas
Texas A&M University School of Law

UTAH

Open Legal Services
University of Utah S. J. Quinney College of Law

VERMONT

Vermont Bar Association and Vermont Law School

VIRGINIA

Richmond Legal Development Center

WASHINGTON

Eastside Legal Assistance Program
Seattle University School of Law

INTERNATIONAL

Córdoba, Spain
Dominican Republic
Islamabad, Pakistan
Pune, India


ARIZONA


ASU Alumni Law Group
Arizona State University, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Mission: The ASU Alumni Law Group is a non-profit entity, created for the purpose of furthering the charitable and educational purposes of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law Alumni Association.  The Law Group was formed to support and provide education and practical training to alumni of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, while providing legal services to an underserved segment of our community. Associates will provide legal services at affordable rates under the close supervision of experienced practitioners. Associates will also receive structured education in the practice of law, as well as how to build a law practice.  

Program status: operational as of March 2014

Organizational details:

  • Program is a free-standing organization.
  • Funding: the program is funded through donations and contributions from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law Alumni Association.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff. Currently there are 7 full-time equivalent employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities to its participants (but does not create an obligation) and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • The program provides services in any area for which there is an experienced supervisor. 

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Supervising attorneys are selected by practice area experience and expertise, reputation in the community, and enthusiasm to train and supervise new lawyers. Associates are recent graduates of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law who are interested in becoming practice-ready through on-the-job training, supervision and further instruction.
  • Length of time in program: 1-3 years maximum
  • Alumni role: They can return and be guest speakers for new entering associate groups, and can continue to turn to Supervising Attorneys for additional mentoring, networking opportunities, and the like.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In-person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: Health insurance, Bar dues, computer, printer, copier, and typical firm overhead

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James E. Rogers Community Law Group
University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law

Mission: The James E. Rogers Community Law Group is dedicated to (1) addressing the unmet legal needs of low-income community residents in Southern Arizona by providing free legal representation; (2) providing continuing legal training and experience for new James E. Rogers College of Law graduates; and (3) promoting professionalism and public service among James E. Rogers College of Law graduates and students.

CLG adopts a comprehensive, holistic approach to the immigrant communities it serves. This approach, combined with the program’s institutional affiliation with the law school, enables CLG to connect immigrants to a wide array of services and resources, both internally at the law school and the University, and externally through extensive partnerships with the nonprofit sector and private bar. The CLG works closely with the law college's Bacon Immigration Law & Policy Program, which currently includes two immigration-related clinics for J.D. students: - one for immigrants in removal proceedings and one for low-wage immigrant workers ­ as well as well-established partnerships with service providers and advocacy organizations throughout the region.

Program status: operational as of November 2014

Organizational details:

  • Program is a free-standing organization, however, CLG’s staff consists of recent James E. Rogers College of Law graduates who serve as CLG Staff Attorneys for a one-year term. CLG provides Staff Attorneys with supervision and mentoring by seasoned attorneys, as well as guidance in representing clients.
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: the program is funded through private donations and contributions.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program does not require that participants do pro bono work or take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • CLG is currently focusing on asylum, U Visa, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases, but will also considers other types of immigration cases on a case-by-case basis. In addition, CLG will consider family law cases that are incidental and related to client’s immigration needs. Cases are referred by the law school’s immigration clinic for JDs as well as agencies in Tucson who handle immigration and family law cases. For now, CLG is focusing on clients who are within 200% of poverty guidelines. If participants meet the income guidelines, have a meritorious case, and they have capacity, they take the case.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants submit an application and engage in interviews with a panel of lawyers and clinical professors.
  • Number of participants: 2-4 at any given time.
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Alumni role: mentors and guest lecturers in the curriculum.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In-person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals  
Pro bono opportunities  
Legal research resources
Other resources: Health insurance, Bar dues, computer, printer, copier, and typical firm overhead

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ARKANSAS

Rural Practice Incubator
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Mission:
 The mission of the Rural Practice Incubator is to support University of Arkansas at Little Rock alumni in launching viable small or solo practices in rural, underserved Arkansas communities.

Program status: will be operational September 2018

Organizational details:

  • Program will be operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants will operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: The program will be funded through law school support and donations.
  • Staffing: The program will be staffed by law school faculty and law school contract or administrative staff. There will be .25 equivalent employee.
  • Malpractice insurance: The program will require participants to have insurance, but will not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program will require that participants take some pro bono cases and will provide opportunities (but not an obligation) for taking moderate–income cases.
  • There will be no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: To be considered, applicants should submit a completed application packet that includes resume, transcript, list of three references, and completed questionnaire regarding statement of interest and business plan. Participants will be selected by members of the RPI advisory committee, which includes judges and rural attorneys. The candidates who submit the strongest applications will be invited to interview with the committee. Participants will be selected based on the following criteria:
    • Graduation date- priority will be given to December 2017 / May 2018 graduates;
    • Strength, vision, and innovation nature of business plan;
    • Applicant’s commitment to solo practice and the program goals of public service and increasing access to justice;
    • Applicant’s connection to and experience working with/or in their proposed client community. High priority will be given to applicants who plan to live in the community they intend to serve;
    • Applicant’s prior work history, educational history, or volunteer experience; and
    • Applicant’s personal strengths and track record of teamwork, grit, innovation, resilience, service, and/or entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Length of time in program: 18 months
  • Number of participants: 4
  • Alumni role: TBD

Resources provided to participants:

Free office space  
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking  
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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CALIFORNIA

BALI - Bay Area Legal Incubator
Volunteer Legal Services Corporation; the Alameda County Bar Association; University of California Hastings College of the Law; University of California, Berkeley School of Law; Golden Gate University School of Law; University of San Francisco School of Law; Santa Clara University School of Law; the Alameda County Law Library; and legal services providers.

Mission: To provide low-fee services to modest means clients, and to help new lawyers build sustainable low-fee practices.

Program status: operational as of January 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of a bar association.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, bar association/foundation support, grants and revenue from the participants. The participant fees are as follows: first 6 months: no fees paid; second 6 mos: $250/month; and second year: $500/month
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by bar association staff and volunteers. There is 1 FTE Mentoring Attorney; .5 FTE on LRS to expand the number of calls processed; and fractions of a CEO and Director of Access Programs.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • There are subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted; most or all are civil litigation matters. Income restrictions require that clients are within 125-300% of the federal poverty level.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Each participating school is able to select their own participants (up to three). Participants must have: (1) a commitment to access to justice; (2) an entreprenurial spirit; and (3) a long-term interest in opening his/her own firm.
  • Length of time in program: 2 years
  • Alumni role: TBD
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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Access to Law Initiative (ALI)
California Western School of Law

Mission: To provide reasonably affordable and free legal services to underserved communities and support alumni who wish to engage in solo, small firm, and non–profit practice.

Program status: operational as of June 2012.

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support.
  • Staffing: the only staff is a visiting faculty member, working as a volunteer for the program.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has umbrella insurance that applies to the program but does not cover participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take some pro bono cases and provides opportunities (but does not create an obligation) for taking moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants are selected by the program director.
  • Number of participants: 14-16 at any given time.
  • Length of time in program: up to 18 months (though this will be flexible)
  • Alumni role: mentoring and other activities.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources  
Other resources  

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Center for Solo Practitioners
Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Mission: The Center for Solo Practitioners is a post–graduate program designed to help alumni develop law practices devoted to the representation of people who are traditionally cut off from legal services and denied access to justice. The goals of the program are to: (1) provide reasonably–priced legal services to low and middle income individuals, (2) help bridge the "justice gap" in our community, (3) engender a career–long passion for serving and improving under–served communities, and (4) provide new lawyers with the skills necessary to run a successful law firm business, while instilling a deep commitment to ethics and professionalism.

Program status: operational as of November 2012.

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support and grants.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by law school contract or administrative staff.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • The program limits cases to those that are within malpractice insurance limits.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: application and interviews.
  • Number of participants: 9 in the inaugural class, and will likely admit 6-10 per year.
  • Length of time in program: 12 – 18 months
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources  

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Community Law Practice Incubator (CLPI)
Bar Association of San Francisco & The Justice and Diversity Center

Mission:
 The Bar Association of San Francisco has created the Community Law Practice Incubator (CLPI) in partnership with its Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) and Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) to serve the professional needs of attorneys within their first three years of practice, and expand access to affordable legal services for low income persons. 

The CLPI provides participants with training and supervision in three areas of practice in which the public’s unmet need for representation remains high: Family Law, Landlord-Tenant issues and Bankruptcy.

The mission of the CLPI is to develop a diverse set of skilled solo/small firm practitioners who will weave a social justice mission to serve the public into the fabric of their new law practice.  In partnership with participants, we look forward to building upon this mission to:

  • Provide reasonably-priced legal services to low income individuals;
  • Increase the diversity of the legal professionals devoted to community service;
  • Engender a career-long passion for serving under-served communities; and
  • Provide new lawyers with the skills necessary to run a successful law firm business.

Program status: Operational as of September 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of Bar Association of San Francisco.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through revenue from the participants. Participants pay a monthly participation fee of $300.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by bar association staff and has one part-time attorney coordinator as well as in-house staff time from various departments.
  • Malpractice insurance: Participants are required to maintain good standing with the State Bar and are required to have insurance but program does not provide it.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take pro bono cases and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • The subject matter of cases are limited to Family Law, Landlord-Tenant Law and Bankruptcy. Participants incorporate limited scope representation where practicable, and flat fee or payment plans as a way to serve modest means clients. 

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an application and interview process.
  • Length of time in program: Six months mandatory with recommended participation for one full year
  • Number of participants: 6
  • Alumni role: Six month participants can continue for a full year. Long term alumni may receive ongoing referrals depending on availability. Alumni may serve as mentors and advisers to new solos in the incubator.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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Lawyer Entrepreneur Assistance Program (LEAP)
Legal Aid Society of Orange County
In collaboration with the University of California Irvine School of Law, Whittier Law School, Western State College of Law, the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University and Concord Law School at Kaplan University (online).

Mission: To assist LASOC's clients by training up moderate means attorneys.

Program status: operational as of January 2013

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the Legal Aid Society. See also the Whittier Legal Access Program, a collaboration with LEAP.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: The program is funded through support from the programs law school partners, University of California Irvine School of Law, Whittier Law School, Western State College of Law, and the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University, and grants from Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund, American Bar Association Legal Access Job Corps Catalyst Grant, State Bar of CA Modest Means/Incubator Project, and the J. B. and Emily Van Nuys Charities.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by volunteers and LASOC staff. Currently there are two full-time equivalent employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take some pro bono cases and provides opportunities (but does not create an obligation) for taking moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: LASOC staff selects participants.
  • University of California Irvine School of Law, Whittier Law School, Western State College of Law, and the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University have partnered with LASOC to open this opportunity to their alumni and recent graduates.
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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Lawyers for Family Justice
Family Justice Center


Mission:
 The Family Justice Center’s legal incubator is a program for new or transitioning attorneys starting their own solo, small firm, or nonprofit practice.  An incubator provides a work environment where incubator attorneys can gain experience in the practice of law and knowledge about how to manage a law practice while being mentored, supervised, and taught by experienced attorneys. 

Program status: operational as of January 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the Family Justice Center, a nonprofit organization.  
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through donations and support from the Family Justice Center.
  • Staffing: Staff of the Family Justice Center provides administrative support. Currently there is .5 full-time equivalent employee.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • Subject matter is limited to family, immigration, consumer (debtors’ rights), housing and probate (guardianship and conservatorship) law.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an application process through the Family Justice Center.
  • Length of time in program: 18 months
  • Number of participants: 6
  • Alumni role: TBD, but likely they will help mentor the next cohort.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming  
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking  
Programming on client development  
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other

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Los Angeles Incubator Consortium (LAIC)
Southwestern, Loyola and UCLA law schools; Los Angeles County Law Library; and six legal aid organizations: Bet Tzedek, Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Community Legal Services, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles and Public Counsel

Mission: To support new solos in building sustainable law practices while increasing the availability of accessible legal services to modest means clients.

Program status:
operational as of March 2015

Organizational details:

  • Program is a consortium that includes three law schools, legal aid organizations and the county law library.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support and grants.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by law school contract or administrative staff. Currently there is .5 full-time equivalent consultant. 
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take some pro bono cases and provides opportunities for taking moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants are selected through a competitive application process that includes panel interviews of candidates.
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Alumni role: TBD
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: third party vendor discounts

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Modest Means Incubator Program
California Lawyers for the Arts

Mission:
CLA’s MMIP is unique in that it is designed to assist recent law graduates (5 years or less) to develop viable law practices in entertainment, arts, intellectual property, and innovation law. CLA’s MMIP will provide young attorneys with practical training to run a successful entertainment and arts law firm. CLA’s MMIP requires participants to offer affordable representation to clients of modest means in the creative arts and innovation community.

Program status:
operational as of August 2014.

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of California Lawyers for the Arts, a 501(c)(3) non-profit serving the creative arts and innovation community since 1974.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through donations and revenue from the participants; MMIP participants pay a participation fee of $500 per month.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff and volunteers. Currently there is one full-time equivalent employee.  
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Applicants complete an extensive application form and those selected from the applications are interviewed.
  • Number of participants: There are 6 people in the Berkeley office. However, if the program is successful,  it will be rolled out to all the other CA Lawyers for the Arts offices statewide – including Sacramento, San Francisco, and Santa Monica – which will allow them to accept many more participants.
  • Length of time in program: 12-18 months
  • Alumni role: Yes
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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The New Solo Practitioner Incubator
Monterey College of Law

Mission: To provide reduced costs legal help for residents of Monterey County. 

Program status: operational as of September 2014.

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support and revenue from the participants; the program fee is a flat $350 per month.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by law school faculty, law school contract or administrative staff and volunteers. Currently there are two quarter time (25%) employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • There are subject matter and income restrictions on the cases accepted by the program. Subject matter is limited to restraining orders, collections, small claims, unlawful detainer and guardianship. Fees are on a sliding scale and determined by household income -- for a family of 4 between $31,900 and $76,560.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: determined through an application process.
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Alumni role: mentors for incoming attorneys.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In-person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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Public Interest Advocacy Collaborative

Mission: Ensuring the public interest has consistent legal representation. We recognize that public interest legal representation must be made more accessible and affordable. We seek to accomplish our mission by combining legal experience with talent, energy, enthusiasm, and idealism to provide reduced cost representation, or where appropriate, pro bono representation; and by increasing the number of public interest legal advocates.
        Our mission consists of three components: (1) Train law students and attorneys how to advocate in the public interest and how to make a living, in part or whole, doing so; (2) Advise and organize community groups with public interest purposes; and (3) Advocate on behalf of the public interest – on a diverse range of matters – that might otherwise go unrepresented.

Program status: operational as of January 2015 (partially operational, providing representation and advice)

Organizational details:

  • Program is a free-standing organization. 
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: It is a new organization and will be exploring various avenues of funding. However, at present, it is funded by the donations of its organizers.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by volunteers.
  • Malpractice insurance: Program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides opportunities (but not obligations) for participants to take pro bono and moderate–income cases.
  • There are subject matter and income restrictions on the cases accepted by the program. Cases must be relevant to a public interest, i.e., a community or group of people and clients must be low - moderate income individuals or non-profit groups.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants must have a strong interest in public interest advocacy. 
  • Length of time in program: Unlimited. However, they will transition from incubatee to mentor.
  • Alumni role: mentorship and sometimes selection for conducting training workshops.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming  
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In-person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: resources will expand as organization grows

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RoyseLaw Community Legal Services

Mission: The program has two components: (1) estates and trusts for low income individuals and (2) business and corporate law for startups.

Program status: operational as of Fall 2015

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of Royse Law Firm, PC.
  • Funding: Program is funded by Royse Law Firm as well as revenue from the participants; there are reduced fee services for certain participants.
  • Staffing: the program hires recent law graduates. There are two full-time equivalent employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: Program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • Subject matter is restricted to estate planning and elder law and individuals must meet the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) guidelines or the IOLTA income guidelines.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants are selected through an interview process conducted by the sponsoring law firm.
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Alumni role: TBD
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In-person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities  
Legal research resources

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Sustainable Economies Law Center Fellowship Program

Mission:
 The purpose of the fellowship is to provide training, mentorship, hands-on experience, networking, and other resources to attorneys beginning new transactional law practices, legal nonprofits, and other projects to serve the legal needs of worker cooperatives, housing cooperatives, renewable energy cooperatives, community-owned enterprises, urban farms, local currencies, land trusts, and other enterprises building local sustainable economies.

Program status: operational as of September 2013

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms all over the United States. 
  • Funding: The program is funded through donations.
  • Staffing: The program has independent compensated staff. Currently there are 2 staff members who each dedicate about 20% of their time.
  • Malpractice insurance: The program has umbrella insurance that applies to the program but does not cover participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities to its participants but does not create an obligation.
  • Program consists of transactional law practices focused on cooperative development and on other enterprises that build sustainable economies.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants send a resume and cover letter describing the law practice they are working to create. There are two interviews and priority is given to candidates who are focused more than half-time on building a new law practice, particularly in geographic areas where such specialized legal services are not yet available.
  • Length of time in program: Participation is indefinite, and fellows are invited to continue participation as long as they continue their law practice, find the program useful, and would offer to mentor newer fellows.
  • Number of participants: 20
  • Alumni role: Participation is ongoing.  
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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Whittier Legal Access Program
Whittier Law School

Mission: To help recent law school graduates develop their own practices while at the same time help the community get access to affordable legal services.

Program status: operational as of January 2015

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC). This program is a collaboration with the LASOC Lawyer Entrepreneur Assistance Program (LEAP).
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, grants, donations, LASOC support, and revenue from the participants. There is a low monthly rental fee for office space owned/provided by LASOC and possibly minimal additional overhead expenses (e.g., printing costs).
  • Staffing: TBD
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take some pro bono cases and provides opportunities (but does not create an obligation) for taking moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an application and interview process conducted by the law school.
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Alumni Role: TBD
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking  
Programming on client development  
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other: Stipends and online networking support may be available. Participants are given access to low cost malpractice insurance.

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COLORADO

Legal Entrepreneurs for Justice

Mission: Legal Entrepreneurs for Justice (LEJ) is a small business incubator for  socially-conscious lawyers who want to build sustainable practices providing  affordable legal solutions to low and middle income Coloradans. This client base makes  too much money to qualify for free legal services but not enough to pay  traditional market rates. LEJ provides the training, mentoring and other  resources and support needed for lawyers launching or transitioning their  practices to establish, maintain, and grow firms addressing the needs of low and middle  income legal consumers. LEJ lawyers are committed to offering predictable pricing,  flexible representation options, and leveraging technology and innovation from  other industries to increase client engagement and efficiency.

Program status: will be operational May 2019

Organizational details:

  • The program was started by an Organizing Committee that consisted of stakeholders from the legal and small business communities in Colorado.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program will be funded through a combination of revenue from participants and grants from other sources.
    • The University of Colorado Law School provided seed funding.
    • There will be a participation fee of $300/month during months 7-12 of the program and $375/month during months 13-18 of the program.
    • Additional grant and revenue sources are being identified.
  • Staffing: Currently LEJ is staffed on a part-time contract basis by a Chicago Bar Foundation employee, Jessica Bednarz, who is serving as an Interim Executive Director. The program hopes to hire a full-time Executive Director in the spring.
  • Malpractice insurance: The program hopes to facilitate discounted rates for participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • The program will prepare participants to take moderate–income cases and maintain sustainable practices. The program includes a 20-hour per week pro bono component during the first 4-6 months of the program.
  • There will be subject matter and income guidelines on the cases accepted by the program's participants. In terms of subject matter, there will be restrictions on personal injury cases. In terms of income guidelines, participants' practices will focus on moderate income clients up to 400% of the federal poverty level or the HUD Poverty Guideline Adjusted Extremely Low-Income Limits.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants will likely be required to submit applications including resumes, transcripts and statements of interest. Applicants will then be interviewed and a committee of staff and board members will select the incoming participants.
  • Number of participants: The program will accept up to 6 participants in the program every six months, for a maximum of up to 18 participants in different phases of the 18-month program.
  • Length of time in program: 18 months, with continued opportunities for alumni.
  • Alumni role: Mentorship and participation in program network.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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CONNECTICUT


Connecticut Community Law Center (CCLC)
University of Connecticut School of Law and the Hartford County Bar Association

Mission: Provide legal services at a modest cost to clients who could not otherwise afford private counsel and would not receive vital representation.  CCLC will enable lawyers to establish solo practices in a supportive environment, and the program will provide its lawyers with training and mentoring by experienced legal professionals.

Program status: operational as of March 2017

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of the University of Connecticut School of Law and the Hartford County Bar Association.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: The program is funded through law school support, bar association/foundation support, grants, donations and revenue from the participants. There is no fee for participants for the first 6 months; $250/mo for months 7-12; and $500/mo for months 13-24.
  • Staffing: The program is staffed by law school contract or administrative staff. There is one part-time director.
  • Malpractice insurance: The program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities (but does not create an obligation) and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • Subject matter is limited to family, housing, consumer, probate, employment, immigration, criminal record expungement, and small community business matters. Although other areas of law may be undertaken with the consent of the Director.
  • Clients must fall within 300% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants complete an application and then schedule an interview with the program director.
  • Length of time in program: 18-24 months
  • Number of participants: 6 initially with additional participants added within the year.
  • Alumni role: Alumni serve as mentors.

Resources provided to participants:

Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

 

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Justice Legal Center at the Center for Family Justice

Mission: To create a self-sustaining incubator program that provides excellent and affordable legal services, and will produce lawyers who are skilled and committed to representing low-and moderate-income clients, and are able to establish and maintain successful law practices.

Program status: operational as of January 2017

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of The Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport, CT.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through grants, donations, private foundations, individual donors and federal funding.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff and volunteers.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take pro bono cases and will require that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients. 

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an application process.
  • Length of time in program: 2 years
  • Number of participants: 4-6
  • Alumni role: Alumni contribute as mentors.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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FLORIDA

FIU LAW Practice
Florida International University College of Law


Mission: Our mission is to increase access to justice for those who seek it while building relationships within the local community. Too often low- and moderate-income local families who do not qualify for free legal services opt not to hire an attorney because of the prohibitive costs.  As an institutional member of the local community, the Florida International University College of Law is committed to providing solutions bridging this access to justice gap. FIU LAW Practice will offer affordable, low cost legal services in the family law area to low- and moderate-income families who do not qualify for free legal services.  FIU LAW Practice will assist modest income families falling within the 125% and 200% poverty guidelines by providing affordable legal services in the family law area.

FIU LAW Practice will also serve as a legal incubator for recent law graduates, admitted to the Florida Bar. The incubator combines approaches used in medical residency programs with those used in a business incubator setting. The goal of this hybrid, apprentice-style approach is to assist new lawyers through both practical training and mentorship as they launch their careers.

Program status: operational as of August 2017

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants are considered part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: The program is funded through Florida International University Auxiliary and Enterprise Development
  • Staffing: The program has law school contract or administrative staff and independent compensated staff. Currently there are two full-time equivalent employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: The program has insurance that covers the participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities to its participants (but does not create an obligation) and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • Initially, FIU will only handle family law cases. Income restrictions require that clients are within 125-300% of the federal poverty level.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Through an application and interview process.
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Number of participants: Two in the first year and four fellows thereafter.
  • Alumni role: Alumni serve as mentors for new fellows.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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Nova Southeastern University | Shepard Broad College of Law Legal Incubator

Mission:
 To provide resources for recent law school graduates to attain legal and business skills enabling them to launch a solo or small firm practice while expanding legal services for the veteran and modest income community.

Program status: operational as of March 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by law school contract or administrative staff. Currently there is one full-time equivalent employee.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an application process.
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Number of participants: 2
  • Alumni role: TBD
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources  

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St. Thomas University School of Law EDGE Program

Mission:
 Consistent with the mission of St. Thomas University, the St. Thomas Law EDGE Program – "EDGE" stands for Entrepreneurs Dedicated to Giving Back & Excellence – will offer aspiring solo/small firm practitioners a supportive incubator environment in which they will (1) develop the legal acumen and business skills necessary to thrive in building their own successful law practices, and also (2) give back to the community by providing at least 300 hours of pro bono work.

Program status: operational as of September 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: The program is funded through law school support.
  • Staffing: Independent compensated staff and adjunct professors staff the program. The program does not have any full-time equivalent staff members.
  • Malpractice insurance: The program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take pro bono cases and provides opportunities (but does not create an obligation) for taking moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an application and formal interview.
  • Length of time in program: 12-18 months
  • Number of participants: 2
  • Alumni role: Alumni serve as mentors.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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The Legal LABB, Inc.

Mission:
The Mission of The Legal L.A.B.B. is to break the barriers to legal access, by providing legal resources and education to low to moderate income clients. The Legal L.A.B.B. bridges the gap between attorneys and recent law school graduates who want to learn how to develop profitable and rewarding law practices, and individuals of modest means who need access to legal representation at affordable rates, yet do not qualify for legal aid. The goal of The Legal L.A.B.B. through our two main programs, The Lawyer L.A.B.B. and The Access L.A.B.B., is to help attorneys accelerate the launch of solo practices serving low and middle-income clients in a wide array of practice areas thereby bridging the gap to legal access. Local communities benefit from access to legal assistance. Attorneys benefit from a shared community and office space, free resources. mentoring and training.

Program status: operational as of February 2018

Organizational details:

  • Program is a free-standing 501(c)3 nonprofit organization
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: The program is funded through donations and revenue from the participants. Participants pay a participation fee of $7500 for the 16-month program ($375 per month for the first 4 months, $450 per month for the next 6 months and $550 for the last 6 months in the program).
  • Staffing: The program has independent compensated staff and volunteers. There are 2 full-time equivalent employees.  
  • Malpractice insurance: The program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides opportunities (but does not create an obligation) for participants to do pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Through an application process (3 times per year space permitting)
  • Length of time in program: 16 months
  • Number of participants: 10
  • Alumni role: Program alumni can choose to mentor participants that come through after them. They can also continue to remain a part of the membership network for case referrals.

Resources provided to participants:

Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other: Free practice management software

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GEORGIA


Lawyers for Equal Justice (LEJ)

State Bar of Georgia, Supreme Court of Georgia, Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Georgia Legal Services Program, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, Georgia State University College of Law, Emory University School of Law, John Marshall Law School, University of Georgia School of Law, Mercer University Law School

Mission: Lawyers for Equal Justice (LEJ) is an incubator program for newer lawyers to start innovative, socially conscious law practices providing affordable services to low and moderate income clients.

The goal is to expand legal services to unrepresented persons by developing new market-based models through which lawyers in solo or small practices can sustainably provide affordable services to these clients. The State Bar of Georgia and the five ABA-approved law schools in Georgia have joined together to financially support the collaborative effort that has led to the creation of LEJ.

Lawyers participating in LEJ will be committed to developing practices providing quality legal services that are accessible and affordable. They will build sustainable, efficient and flexible practices by leveraging technology, offering fixed fees and a la carte services, and maximizing collaboration with their clients. The 18-month LEJ program provides training, resources and support to participants.

Program status: operational as of March 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of legal aid programs. 
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, bar association/foundation support, grants, donations and revenue from the participants. Specifically, funding is provided by the State Bar of Georgia; all five ABA-approved law schools in GA; the Legal Services Corporation; plus donated services and furnishings (pro bono assistance; free CLE). The participant fees are as follows: First 6 months - $0/month; Second 6 months - $500/month; Third 6 months - $750/month.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff and volunteers. There are 2 full-time equivalent employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an application and interview process conducted by a Committee of the Board of Directors and the Executive Director.
  • Length of time in program: 18 months
  • Number of participants: Goal is 10 every six months for a total of 30; inaugural class is 8.
  • Alumni role: TBD
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other: Free case management software; free web platform; furnishings for "office"; free internet

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HAWAI'I


Hawai'i Emerging Legal Practitioners (HELP) Access to Justice Project
William S. Richardson School of Law, Legal Aid Society of Hawai'i, and Volunteer Legal Services Hawai'i.

Mission: The program is designed to support beginning lawyers who wish to develop solo or small-firm practices that will promote access to legal services for low and moderate-income residents throughout Hawai'i, including both rural and urban O'ahu, as well as the counties of Kaua'i, Maui, and Hawai'i.

Program status: operational as of Fall 2015

Organizational details:

  • HELP is jointly coordinated by the William S. Richardson School of Law, Legal Aid Society of Hawai'i, and Volunteer Legal Services Hawai'i.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: The program is funded through grants, bar association/foundation support and law school support. Grantors include the ABA and the Hawai'i Justice Foundation.
  • Staffing: The program is staffed by law school faculty and volunteers. Currently there are no full-time equivalent staff members.
  • Malpractice insurance: The program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take some pro bono cases and provides opportunities (but does not create an obligation) for taking moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an application and interview process.
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Number of participants: 6
  • Alumni role: Alumni serve as mentors.  
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming  
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources  

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ILLINOIS

Justice Entrepreneurs Project
Chicago Bar Foundation

Program status: operational as of June 2013

Mission: The JEP is an incubator for recent law school graduates to start their own socially conscious law firms. The goal is to expand legal services to low and moderate income people by developing new models through which lawyers in solo or small practices can sustainably provide affordable services to these clients.

Organizational details:

  • Program was started by a bar foundation as a directly supported project that may eventually become its own free–standing organization.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through a combination of bar foundation support, grants, donations, and revenue from participants.
    • The Chicago Bar Foundation provided seed funding.
    • In 2014, the MacArthur Foundation awarded the JEP a two year MacArthur Discovery Grant.
    • There is a participation fee of $300/month during the last 12 months of the 18 month program.
  • Staffing: Currently there are two Chicago Bar Foundation employees who staff the program full-time. 
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has facilitated discounted rates for participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • The program prepares participants to take moderate–income cases and maintain a sustainable practice. The program includes a 20-hour per week pro bono component during the first 6 months of the program.
  • There are subject matter and income guidelines on the cases accepted by the program's participants. In terms of subject matter, there are restrictions on personal injury cases. In terms of income restrictions, participants' practices focus on moderate income clients up to 400% of the federal poverty level.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants are required to submit applications including resumes, transcripts and statements of interest. Applicants are then interviewed and a committee of staff and alumni participants selects the incoming participants.
  • Number of participants: the program began with 10 participants and adds up to 10 participants at 6 month intervals, for a maximum of up to 30 participants in different phases of the 18-month program.
  • Length of time in program: 18 months, with continued opportunities for alumni. 
  • Alumni role: mentorship and participation in program network.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources

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Solo & Small Practice Incubator
IIT Chicago–Kent College of Law

Mission: To assist in the development of newly admitted attorneys in an "incubator" environment that provides an array of business support resources. The aim of the one–year program is to provide recent Chicago–Kent graduates valuable training, ongoing education and the tools necessary to build a solo or small firm practice.

Program status: operational as of November 2012.

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded by law school support.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by law school contract or administrative staff. Currently there is one full–time equivalent (the director).
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities to its participants (but does not create an obligation)
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: a committee consisting of faculty and senior staff review the applications. The applications all require business plans.
  • Number of participants: 7–10 participants will be admitted per year
  • Length of time in program: one year
  • Alumni role: the program plans to have alums continue to participate by becoming future mentors and/or speak at training workshops.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: Free practice management software through Clio

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LOUISIANA

Legal Innovators for Tomorrow (LIFT) Fellowship Program
Louisiana State Bar Association

Program status: operational as of February 2014

Mission: The Legal Innovators for Tomorrow (LIFT) Fellowship Program will provide a one to two-year fellowship for young lawyers with 0-5 years of practice experience seeking to develop an innovative, public interest-oriented solo or small firm practice. The LIFT program is designed to support these lawyers in developing cutting-edge practices, sustaining profitable careers and serving the public interest through excellent legal services. In partnership with the Louisiana State Bar Association, LIFT Fellows are supported in reaching these goals through resources such as mentoring, CLEs, practice management training, networking and referrals. Overall, the purpose of the LIFT Fellowship Program is to: assist new attorneys in developing successful, innovative solo and small practices; encourage public-interest and social justice oriented law practice; and provide affordable professional legal services for modest-income clients.

Organizational details:

  • The Program is a collaboration between the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Louisiana Civil Justice Center, a nonprofit 501c3 legal aid program.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through bar association/foundation support, grants, and donations.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed through bar association staff. Currently there is one staff person who dedicates 50% of her time to the program. 
  • Malpractice insurance: program requires that participants have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants submit an application form and required attachments, which include a summary of their proposed law practice, their focus on pursuing public interest advocacy through their practice, and their business plan including operations and financial projections. Applications are reviewed by the LIFT Young Lawyer Advisory Committee and selections are made based on strength of the applicants proposal, including the feasibility of their proposed practice, the innovative delivery of services to underserved populations and their commitment to and engagement with public interest practice. 
  • Number of participants: 10
  • Length of time in program: 12-24 months
  • Alumni role: mentoring new participants
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources  

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Incubator Program
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Mission:
To train new lawyers by providing skills development focused on best practices for solo practitioners interested in social justice law practice and provide increased legal services and access to justice in the local community for individuals of low and moderate means. 

Program status:
operational as of January 2015.

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, grants, and donations. Funding in part came from an ABA Legal Access Job Corp "Catalyst Grant" as well as an anonymous donation to the law school.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed through law school faculty. Currently there is one part-time faculty professor and no full-time equivalent employees.  
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients. First year attorneys are required to do 40 hours per month of pro bono and second year attorneys are required to do 20 hours per month (first 6 months only).  
  • Program has income restrictions; clients will be of low to moderate income (200% of poverty guideline).

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants are selected by an interview committee.
  • Number of participants: The program now operates for two cohorts of attorneys: year 1 and year 2. Currently, the program has 3 first year attorneys and 3 second year attorneys.  
  • Length of time in program: one year
  • Alumni role: peer advisors
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: Free case management online resource

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MAINE

Maine Community Law Center

Mission: To provide increased access to justice for Maine citizens of modest means, and to give recent law school graduates the business expertise and legal experience to run a solo or small firm practice.

Program status: operational as of September 2015

Organizational details:

  • Program is a free-standing organization.
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: the program will be sustained through client fees. Billing rates for hourly services range between $75-$175/hr. Flat fees may also be considered.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff. There is one full-time equivalent employee.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers the participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities to its participants (but does not create an obligation) and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected on the basis of a prior demonstrated interest in solo and small firm practice, and commitment to access to justice.
  • Length of time in program: 2 years
  • Number of participants: the program currently has two incubatees, and two more will be added in September 2016. As a two-year program, two will graduate in September 2017 when three more will be added, followed by three more in 2018. Full capacity will be 6 lawyers. 
  • Alumni role: Alumni serve as professional mentors and assist in training.
  • Resources provided to participants:

  • Free office space
    Subsidized office space  
    A stipend or other financial contribution
    Mentoring on substantive legal issues
    Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
    Assistance and training with practice management issues
    Free or subsidized CLE programming
    Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
    Online networking
    In–person networking
    Programming on client development
    Case referrals
    Pro bono opportunities
    Legal research resources
    Other: Network of experienced attorneys available for consult; programming on business and substantive legal issues. 

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MASSACHUSETTS

Justice Bridge Legal Center
University of Massachusetts School of Law

Program status: operational as of August 2014; separate incubator offices in downtown Boston and New Bedford, MA

Mission: To empower recent law school graduates interested in building solo/small firm practices serving modest means clients who cannot otherwise afford traditional legal rates.

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, grants, donations, and revenue from the participants; revenue from participants is a scaled monthly membership fee.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed through independently compensated staff and volunteers. Currently, 1-2 full-time employees staff the program.
  • Malpractice insurance: program requires that participants have insurance, but does not provide it to them.
  • Program provides access to over 65 mentors with any average of 30+ years of legal experience, including over one dozen mentors regularly in-residence in the incubator's two offices. 

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides opportunities (but not obligations) for participants to take pro bono and moderate–income cases.
  • Program has income restrictions on the types of clients it serves; it charges an average rate of $50 to $100 per hour on incubator cases, scaled to the clients' income; fixed fees and payment plans are available. 
  • Practice areas include a wide variety of civil matters, including family, housing, employment, immigration, small business, consumer and benefits law. 

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants are selected through an application process, a key component of which is their personal business plan.
  • Length of time in program: Two years
  • Alumni role: alumni may remain as associate members; they provide peer mentoring. 
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: Assistance with website design; training in innovative legal services delivery opportunities; case management software; legal research software.

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Lawyers for Affordable Justice, Inc.
Independent Nonprofit originally formed by Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, and Northeastern University School of Law

Mission: The mission of LAJ will be to provide high quality, affordable legal services to modest-means individuals, families, and emerging enterprises in the Greater Boston area, while at the same time preparing recent graduates of those law schools to operate sustainable solo or small law firms, and creating replicable, innovative means of delivering legal services through advanced technology, social media, and unbundling.

Program status: operational as of January 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program is an independent nonprofit.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, grants, donations and revenue from the participants in the form of graduated monthly payments over the two-year period. Grantors include: the American Bar Association and the Boston College, Boston University and Northeastern University law schools.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by law school faculty, independent compensated staff and volunteers. There are .5 full-time equivalent employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities to its participants (but does not create an obligation) and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • There are some subject matter restrictions on the types of cases accepted by the program.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Candidates submit an application and a basic marketing plan. LAJ will allow participation in one or more of four practice areas, and the participants will express preferences for those. The law school faculty directors choose appropriate candidates to join LAJ.
  • Length of time in program: 2 years
  • Number of participants: 12
  • Alumni role: While there is no defined role, it is expected that alumni will assist with mentoring new participants.
  • Resources provided to participants:

  • Free office space  
    Subsidized office space
    A stipend or other financial contribution  
    Mentoring on substantive legal issues
    Opportunities to shadow lawyers
    Assistance and training with practice management issues
    Free or subsidized CLE programming
    Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
    Online networking  
    In–person networking
    Programming on client development
    Case referrals
    Pro bono opportunities
    Legal research resources
    Other resources: Assistance with website design; training in innovative legal services delivery opportunities; case management software; legal research software.

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MICHIGAN

Solo & Small Firm Incubator Program
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

Mission: The UDM Solo & Small Firm Incubator Program is designed to provide a supportive environment for select new law graduates who are committed to beginning a solo or small firm practice serving low and moderate income individuals. 

Program status:
operational as of October 2014

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, bar association/foundation support, grants and donations.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by law school faculty and law school contract or administrative staff. Currently there is one full-time equivalent employee.
  • Malpractice insurance: requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through and application and personal interview process.
  • Length of time in program: 12-18 months
  • Alumni role: Alumni serve as mentors to new participants.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In-person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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MINNESOTA

Collaborative Community Law Initiative

Mission: The Collaborative Community Law Initiative (CCLI) has two equally important purposes. First, it will teach recent graduates from Mitchell Hamline School of Law (and its predecessor schools, William Mitchell College of Law and Hamline University School of Law) skills necessary to establish small community-based law practices serving low-income clients. Second, CCLI will increase the availability of affordable legal services to a client population which is financially ineligible for legal assistance through existing Minnesota legal nonprofits.

Program status: operational as of November 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program is a free-standing, non-profit organization supported by and affiliated with Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded by law school support, bar association/foundation support, grants, donations and educational fees from the participants.
  • Staffing: The program has independent compensated staff and volunteers. It has 1 part-time administrative staff and a volunteer Executive Director.  
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • While participants are encouraged to select their own cases, the program requires participants to devote at least 30% of their practice to low-bono referrals from Minnesota legal nonprofits that partner with CCLI. Participants are also encouraged to handle pro bono cases.
  • There are both income and subject matter restrictions on the types of cases referred from CCLI’s referral partners.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: The program is limited to graduates of Mitchell Hamline School of Law and its predecessor schools, William Mitchell College of Law and Hamline University School of Law; beginning in 2017, participants will be required to have completed a semester-long residency program and an upper-level seminar devoted to business aspects of law.
  • Length of time in program: 18 months.
  • Alumni role: Alumni may be selected to serve as mentors to participants. 
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources  

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MISSOURI

Midwest Center for Law and Justice

Program status: operational as of April 2014

Mission: To equip young attorneys for service in underrepresented communities. 

Organizational details:

  • The program is a free-standing organization.
  • Funding: the program is funded through revenue from the participants and is currently seeking grants to expand.
  • Staffing: the program is run by independent compensated staff and volunteers. Currently there are 3 full-time equivalent employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers participants. 

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • The program does not accept criminal cases. Every client is examined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account income and the willingness of the client to participate in their own case.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Everyone in the law firm must be like-minded. They must have a spirit of entrepreneurialship and conservative values.
  • Length of time in program: Length of particpation varies depending on the attorney's abilities and confidence level. Attorney participants have the opportunity to open their own satellite office once they are capable of doing so.
  • Alumni role: The goal is to have attorneys graduate into their own practice and mentor other attorneys. 
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking  
In–person networking  
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: 

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UMKC Solo and Small Firm Incubator
University of Missouri–Kansas City

Program status: operational as of January 2011

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded based on law school support, bar association/foundation support, donations, and revenue from the participants. Participants pay a modest rent for the office space.
  • Staffing: The program is staffed by law school faculty, and on occasion a receptionist.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • The program requires that participants take some pro bono cases and provides opportunities (but not an obligation) for taking moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants are selected through a robust selection process. The participants submit an application along with a business plan. The Admission Committee meets and makes a final decision and recommendation to the Dean of the law school.
  • Number of participants: 8 at any given time.
  • Length of time in program: 12–18 months.
  • Alumni role: encouraged to remain involved.
  • Resources provided to participants: participants are provided with many of the resources available at the law school, including its network of contacts and the expertise of the law professors, ability to partner with subject–area mentors, participants also may attend law school sponsored CLE events for free.
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities  
Legal research resources  
Other resources

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NEW JERSEY

Associates Fellowship Program
Rutgers School of Law

Program status: operational as of February 2014

Mission: To provide recent graduates with extensive supervised training while they provide quality legal services to the low bono community.

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, donations, and client fees. Clients of the program pay $50-75 per hour for services provided.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by law school contract or administrative staff. Currently there is one full-time employee, but this number is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities to its participants (but does not create an obligation) and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • Program has income restrictions on the types of clients that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Number of participants: 6 fellows for 2014, and expected to expand to two or three times that number in the coming years.  
  • Length of time in program: one year (January-December), with a few fellows permitted to return as second year mentors, at a higher billing rate and enhanced stipend.
  • Alumni role: all fellows are expected to serve as mentors in a developing network, and to receive referrals from overflow of clients.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals  
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: Course work in substantive and practice areas each day (organized like medical rounds). Participants are post-doctoral fellows of the Law School enrolled in these classes, and therefore are eligible for loan deferral and (if needed) additional student loans. All fellows are on full "scholarship" covering tuition costs for their enrollment, and they receive $30,000 per year stipend.

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NEW MEXICO

Entrepreneurs in Community Lawyering
New Mexico State Bar Foundation with the State Bar of New Mexico, the University of New Mexico School of Law, New Mexico Access to Justice Commission and New Mexico Legal Aid

Mission:
 To train new attorneys to be successful solo practitioners; Ensure that moderate-income New Mexicans have access to affordable legal services; and Expand legal services in rural areas of New Mexico.

Program status: operational as of October 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program operate under the auspices of the New Mexico State Bar Foundation.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through bar association/foundation support, grants, donations and revenue from the participants. Participants pay a sliding fee for rent while in the program. This fee ranges from 0 to $500/mo. depending on the length of time the participant has been in the program.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by bar association staff and volunteers. There is a 1.5 full-time equivalent employee staffing the program.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities to its participants (but does not create an obligation) and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • The program doesl not prohibit any practice areas; however, it asks that participants focus on the areas of law most needed by modest income people.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: There is an application process with selection determined by the program director.
  • Length of time in program: 18-24 months
  • Number of participants: 6
  • Alumni role: Alumni contribute by mentoring new participants.  
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Subsidized office space
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: Mandatory Bar Association dues paid

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NEW YORK

Access to Justice Incubator
Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University

Program status: operational as of Feburary 2014

Mission: The mission of the Access to Justice Incubator is to fill a critical gap in the access to legal services for low and moderate-income persons in Nassau County, New York, while at the same time providing an opportunity for recent graduates of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University to gain practical legal experience and inculcate a life-long commitment to pro bono service. With these goals in mind, the Incubator will work in consultation with the bench and bar to identify critical areas of need for civil legal services in our community. The Incubator will serve as a bridge from the classroom to full-time legal practice, emphasizing the importance of professional obligations to serve the public interest.  Fellows will be closely supervised as they are trained to provide the full spectrum of representation for clients and will be taught to hone the skills of reflective practice.  The program creators believe strongly in the value of collaborative learning and professional development and fellows will be encouraged to work together and provide constructive feedback to one another. As recent graduates gain experience in the representation of clients, they will be pushed to consider the systemic challenges faced by many individuals who are seeking full access to justice in the legal system.

Organizational details:

  • Program is a separate non-profit, but is affiliated with the Law School/University.
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, bar association/foundation support, grants, donations, state civil legal services funding, and alumni and foundational support.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff; also, the Board members are the law school Dean, Senior Associate Dean for Experiential Education, professors, and alumni. There are 6 full-time employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers the participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take some pro bono cases and provides opportunities (but does not create an obligation) for taking moderate–income cases.
  • There are subject matter restrictions on the types of cases accepted as well as income restrictions for clients.

Participants:

  • Number of participants: the program will start with 2 Fellows, with another 2 Fellows to be hired following the July Bar exam.
  • Participant selection: participants are selected through an application/interview process.
  • Length of time in program: one year.
  • Alumni role: mentoring and the opportunity to sit on the board.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources  

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Community Justice Center of Long Island (CJCLI)
Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

Mission: To support Touro Law graduates as they create solo practices with a social justice mission.

Program status: operational as of November 2013

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: program is funded through law school support, bar association/foundation support, donations, and revenue from the participants; the lawyers pay a monthly fee that is used to offset the cost of the space that houses CJC.
  • Staffing: program has independent compensated staff. Currently there are no full-time employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires that participants have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take some pro bono cases and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Number of participants: 13
  • Participant selection: participants are selected based on their demonstrated commitment to social justice, their desire to start a solo practice, and with recommendations from law school professors and members of the bar.
  • Length of time in program: 18 months
  • Alumni role: mentoring
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources

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Court Square Law Project
New York City Bar Association and the City University of New York School of Law

Mission: The Court Square Law Project was created by the New York City Bar Association and the City University of New York School of Law to provide high-quality civil legal services to moderate-income clients and jobs to recent law school graduates. This unique partnership will address the persistent justice gap in America and the professional crisis that continues to affect new lawyers.

Program status: operational as of February 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the bar association and the law school.
  • Participants are considered part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, bar association/foundation support, grants, donations and client fees.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed with law school faculty, law school contract or administrative staff, independent compensated staff and volunteers. There are 2 full-time attorneys, 1 full-time program coordinator and up to 20 fellows per year.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers participants..

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • There are income restrictions on clients.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an annual application process.
  • Length of time in program: 1-2 years
  • Number of participants: 10-20 per year
  • Alumni role: Alumni will be mentors, CLE faculty and advisors.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking  
In–person networking  
Programming on client development
Case referrals  
Pro bono opportunities  
Legal research resources

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Pace Community Law Practice
Pace University School of Law

Mission: The PCLP is a unique "legal residency" and incubator program that trains and supervises recent law graduates as they represent clients for the first time, while providing desperately needed legal assistance to underserved communities. The economic downturn of recent years has increased the number of people in need of legal services, while creating a shortage of jobs for law school graduates seeking public interest careers. The PCLP sees these challenges as an opportunity to reinvigorate community-based legal practice, in which solo practitioners and small firms charge moderate fees while providing affordable, quality legal services in their communities. The PCLP charges moderate, affordable fees to those who are able to pay, and represents many indigent clients pro bono.

Program status: operational as of September 2012.

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm. One 2012-2013 Fellow currently has a solo practice that is incubated by the PCLP.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, bar association/foundation support, grants, donations, and client fees.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed through law school contract or administrative staff, bar association staff, and volunteers. Currently there are 8 full-time equivalent employees. The PCLP also has one full-time fellow funded by the Westchester County Bar Association Foundation.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • Subject matter of cases restricted to immigration law, family law, and employment law; also, participants cannot represent Pace University employees or students.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants are selected through a competitive fellowship application and interview process.
  • Length of time in program: the legal residency fellowship program is a one year fellowship. Upon completion of the yearlong legal residency, fellows can choose to be incubated at the PCLP.
  • Alumni role: incubated attorneys are expected to provide additional supervision and mentoring to subsequent fellows, to cover hearings without fee for the PCLP when necessary, and to second-seat subsequent fellows at hearings.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: Full time supervision and mentoring by the Assistant Director/Supervising Attorney

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Resident Associate Mentoring Program (RAMP)
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Mission: To place recent graduates in full-time associate or legal counsel positions in law firms or in-house legal departments for one year, with supportive training provided by the law school.

Program status: operational as of October 2013

Organizational details:        

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
    • The law school provides monthly meetings for the Resident Associates so that they can talk about their experiences, and learn from each other about various issues relating to law firm practice and being a new attorney.
    • The law school also provides relevant training for Resident Associates, such as deposition skills or contract drafting, and also opens up all of its CLE programs for free to the RAMP employers and their employees.
  • Participants are not considered part of a single program law firm nor do participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded by the law firm or in-house legal department which pays a set "fellowship" type salary. All RAMP employers pay the Resident Associates the same salary, which is set by the law school.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed through law school contract or administrative staff; an Office of Career Services Assistant Director works with employers and Resident Associates. Currently there is one full-time employee.
    • The law school contributes the work of one of the OCS Assistant Directors, who develops potential RAMP employers, works with them to post the position and to schedule interviews, prepares applicants for the interviews, and prepares selected associates for their jobs.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires that participants have insurance but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides opportunities (but does not create an obligation) for participants to take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: the law firm or in-house legal departments write a job description with the assistance of RAMP, which is then posted on Symplicity. Recent graduates then apply directly through Symplicity, and the applications are forwarded to the employers. Employers then select who they want to interview and make their selections after the interview process.
  • Length of time in program: the commitment by the employer and Resident Associate is for one year, full-time.  After one year, the employer and associate can negotiate for the associate to stay on as an employee at whatever salary and benefits are negotiated.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues  
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming  
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals  
Pro bono opportunities  
Legal research resources  
Other resources: CLE and other training; monthly meetings to discuss relevant issues, such as the review process, developing business, etc.

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NORTH CAROLINA

Elon Law Legal Incubator
Elon Law School

Mission: To provide training for new lawyers to become successful solo practitioners and to provide legal services to underserved residents.

Program status: operational as of October 2015

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm. 
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support and revenue from the participants. Participants pay $250-300 a month rent to participate in the program.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed with law school staff and volunteers. There is a .25 full-time equivalent employee.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients. 
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted, but participants must provide 300 hours of pro bono and low bono services over the 18 months of the program.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an interview and reference check process.  
  • Length of time in program: 18 months
  • Number of participants: 4
  • Alumni role: TBD
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other: Office services such as printing, copying, scanning, etc.

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OHIO

Akron Bar Association Incubator Program

Mission: The purpose of the Incubator Program is two-fold: To provide support to new attorneys in Summit County seeking to establish solo or small firm practices; and provide legal services to low income and modest means clients.

Program status: operational as of September 2015

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the Akron Bar Association.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through bar association and foundation support, grants and revenue from the participants in the form of rent.
  • Staffing: the program is run by volunteers.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires that participants have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Through an interview process
  • Length of time in program: Up to 18 months
  • Alumni role: TBD
  • Resources provided to participants:

  • Free office space  
    Subsidized office space
    A stipend or other financial contribution  
    Mentoring on substantive legal issues
    Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
    Assistance and training with practice management issues  
    Free or subsidized CLE programming  
    Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
    Online networking  
    In–person networking
    Programming on client development  
    Case referrals
    Pro bono opportunities
    Legal research resources

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Cleveland-Marshall Solo Practice Incubator
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University

Mission: To assist Cleveland-Marshall graduates in building law practices; to contribute to the transition in legal education toward more practice-oriented instruction; to contribute to the evolution in business models for legal services delivery; and to provide a laboratory for academic study of living law firms in operation.

Program status: operational as of January 2014

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, donations, and revenue from the participants. Tenants pay rent of $200 per month; rent is administered by and remitted to the law school directly and proceeds are used to fund program operations.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff and volunteers.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides opportunities (but not obligations) for participants to take pro bono and moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants are selected through an application process, in which primary weight is given to the quality of the business plan (required to be provided as part of application) and other evidence of applicant's likelihood of business success; subsidiary emphasis is on helping more recent graduates, other things equal, and the innovativeness of the business model or other goals.
  • Number of participants: the goal is to maintain 10 tenants on an ongoing basis, with the flexibility to hold up to 15.
  • Length of time in program: 2 years, with substantial flexibility to terminate in case of job offers or other reasons for early departure.
  • Alumni role: formal partnership with Cleveland Marshall Law Alumni Association, among others things including ex officio seats on Incubator's governing Advisory Council; close informal relationships with many alumni leaders and representatives, including the majority of Advisory Council members and numerous volunteers who provide programming and enter formal mentor relationships with tenants. 
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities  
Legal research resources
Other resources: a package of free and discounted business and law practice services negotiated by their partner, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar.

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Columbus Bar, INC

Mission: To accelerate the successful development of new lawyers in an environment that provides an array of professional support resources.

Program status: operational as of April 2011

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the bar association.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through bar association/foundation support, grants, donations, and program fees from the participants.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by a part–time bar association staff person, who is a lawyer.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • The program requires that participants do some pro bono and provides opportunities (but not an obligation) for taking moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: there is an application and interview process.
  • Number of participants: the program's office accommodates 6–8 people; 12–20 can participant in the INC ltd program at a given time (this includes all resources other than physical office space).
  • Length of time in program: 12–15 months
  • Alumni role: alumni act as junior level mentors.
  • Resources provided to participants: In addition to those listed below, resources include: technical support, cloud computing resources, phones, furniture, and copy/printer/fax capabilities.
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development  
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources

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Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services

Program status: operational as of April 2014

Mission: To provide legal services to moderate income individuals and non-profits on environmental and land use matters, through a 2 year residency program designed to incubate small start-up firms. The program is regional, starting in Pennsylvania and Ohio and eventually expanding to West Virginia.

Organizational details:

  • Program is a free-standing organization.
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: the program is funded through grants and donations; grantors are Heinz Endowments, Colcom Foundation, George Gund Foundation
  • Staffing: the program has  independent compensated staff. Currently the program has one executive director, two senior attorneys, and four residents.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • Program has income restrictions on the types of clients; subject matter is restricted to environmental and land use cases.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Application process including business plan for starting a modest-means law firm.
  • Length of time in program: 2 years
  • Number of Participants: 5
  • Alumni role: to be determined
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues  
Free or subsidized CLE programming  
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking  
In–person networking  
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities  
Legal research resources

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OKLAHOMA

Tulsa Immigrant Resource Network
University of Tulsa College of Law's Boesche Legal Clinic

Mission: TIRN is a service-oriented program that has three goals: (1) provide members of the non-citizen community in Tulsa with legal representation in immigration matters; (2) educate the immigrant community and service providers who work with the immigrant community on immigration matters; and (3) create and train a network of local attorneys to provide pro bono representation to vulnerable immigrants.

TIRN is a post-graduate fellowship program in which two fellows are employed full-time for two years each. The fellows receive a salary and university benefits. They are considered employees of the University of Tulsa and thus have full use of all of the University's resources.

Program status: operational as of 2008

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: the program is funded through the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • Staffing: The program is funded through law school faculty, law school contract or administrative staff and fellows. Currently, to meet its goals, TIRN has one full-time director and two post-graduate fellows.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers the participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • All cases are handled on a pro bono basis.
  • Subject matter is limited to immigration.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: participants are selected through an application and interview process.
  • Number of participants: 2
  • Length of time in program: 2 years
  • Alumni role: Program alumni have participated in trainings.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues  
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development  
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: University employee benefits; office equipment, including desk top computers, printers, scanners and they are a part of the University of Tulsa's on line network.

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OREGON


The Commons Law Center

Mission: The Commons Law Center has a mission to make legal services more accessible to more people. We serve people between 125 - 400% of the federal poverty level and businesses and organizations with annual budgets under a million dollars. The Center practices law with an aim to innovate. Three-year fellowships for three new lawyers each year will combine mentorship, scholarship and community education and enable the Center to achieve its mission.

Program status: operational as of January 2017

Organizational details:

  • The Commons Law Center is a free-standing organization.
  • Participants are considered part of a single law firm.
  • Funding: The program is funded through grants, donations and client fees. To raise the startup budget, the program is seeking grants from law firms, businesses and individuals in Oregon who want to help close the access to justice gap. The program is also exploring partnerships with law schools.
  • Staffing: The program has independent compensated staff. There is one executive director, one half-time supervising attorney and three full-time fellows.
  • Malpractice insurance: The program has insurance that covers participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • Subject matter of the cases accepted is limited to business law, nonprofit law, social enterprise law, and estate planning, administration and elder law. The program focuses on serving people between 125-400% of the federal poverty level as well as on serving businesses and nonprofits with annual budgets under one million. Clients pay on a sliding-scale based on their annual income (as demonstrated by W2's) at an average rate of $75/hour.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants apply for a fellowship with the Center as they would for a clerkship or other job. They'll fill out an application and respond to essay prompts, and submit a cover letter, resume, transcript and writing sample.
  • Length of time in program: Fellows are asked to commit in principle to completing their full three-year fellowship along with their cohort.
  • Number of participants: Starting in 2017 the Center intends to hire three fellows for three-year fellowships each fall.
  • Alumni role: TBD   
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming  
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other: The fellows will be full-time employees of Catalyst Law Institute. Starting salary will be between $40,000 and $50,000 per year. 

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The Legal Empowerment Accelerator Program
Clackamas Women’s Services

Mission: To provide cost-free and sliding scale holistic and comprehensive services civil legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and/or elder abuse in Clackamas County.

Program status: will be operational Winter 2018

Organizational details:

  • Program will operate under the auspices of Clackamas Women’s Services.
  • Participants will operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: The program will be funded through law school support, bar association/foundation support, grants and donations.
  • Staffing: The program will have independent compensated staff. There will be 1 full-time equivalent employee.  
  • Malpractice insurance: The program will have insurance that covers participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program will require that participants do some pro bono and will require that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • Clients must fall within 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. Criminal cases will not be accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Applicants will apply through their law schools.
  • Length of time in program: 18 months
  • Number of participants: 4
  • Alumni role: As informal, unpaid mentors

Resources provided to participants:

Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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PENNSYLVANIA

Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services 
(click to see full profile in Ohio section)



Pitt Legal Services Incubator
The University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Mission: The Incubator is designed to support recent graduates whose ambitions are to create sustainable solo or small firm practices that will bring affordable and quality legal services to the underserved communities of the region.

Innovation in the delivery of legal services is a critical theme of the Pitt Law Incubator.  The Incubator assists the lawyers in developing innovative ways to deliver quality legal services to clients whose financial means are insufficient to afford the services of the conventional law firms.

Earlier this summer the ABA awarded the Pitt Incubator a Catalyst Grant for the purpose of hiring an Innovation Fellow, a part-time position. The Fellows are responsible for the development of a working compendium of innovations in outreach and delivery of legal services to underserved communities. We will share this compendium not only with our incubator lawyers but also with other incubators across the nation and the practicing community generally.  

Program status:  operational as of January 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support, bar association/foundation support, grants, donations and revenue from the participants. The ABA has awarded the program one of its Catalyst Grants. The program also receives in-kind support from the Allegheny County Bar Association in terms of access to referral networks and training programs. Participants pay a "below market" monthly fee for the office space and tech support provided. 
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by law school faculty and law school contract or administrative staff. A faculty member serves as Faculty Director, representing the allocation of 1/2 of the faculty member's time. The program will also hire an experienced practitioner to serve as Program Director, a 40% part time administrative position. Thus, it will devote essentially one FTE to the staffing.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides opportunities (but not obligations) for participants to take pro bono and moderate–income cases.
  • There are no subject matter or income restrictions on types of cases accepted by the program.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Graduates who have passed the PA bar exam and who will be licensed to practice law in PA are eligible to apply to the program. A committee consisting of the Faculty Director, the Program Director, and one or more other Law School employees or members of the Incubator's Advisory Board reviews applications and selects the participants.
  • Number of participants: The two-year Incubator program will select each year six to eight recent graduates of the Law School who have passed the PA bar exam and are licensed to practice. Thus, at full occupancy, there will be a total of 12 to 16 lawyers working within the Incubator.
  • Length of time in program: 2 years
  • Alumni role: alumni are invited back to participate with mentoring and training programs.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

 


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Widener University/Dauphin County Bar Association Incubator Program
Widener University School of Law and Dauphin County Bar Association

Mission: The mission is two-fold: First, to help students interested in solo or small firm practice get some experience that will enable them to begin the practice of law more smoothly and efficiently, and second to provide assistance to low-income residents of Dauphin County.

Program status: operational as of January 2015

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of both the law school and the bar association.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: as of now, the program is funded through law school support.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed through law school faculty and volunteers. Currently there is less than one full-time equivalent employee (the director).
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires that participants have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take some pro bono cases and provides opportunities (but does not create an obligation) for taking moderate–income cases.
  • Program requires that participants only take civil cases (although participating attorneys may accept criminal defense cases privately) and also requires that referred clients be income-eligible for legal services.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Applications are submitted to the Director of the Program. Selection is based on perceived interest in a career as a solo practitioner or in a small firm.
  • Number of participants: 2 or 3
  • Length of time in program: one year
  • Alumni role: the hope is that they would mentor future participants, but the program does not impose a requirement that they do so.
  • Resources provided to participants:

 

Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers  
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming  
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development  
Case referrals  
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources  
Other resources:  

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RHODE ISLAND

Rhode Island Center for Justice
Roger Williams University School of Law Fellowship


Mission: The Rhode Island Center for Justice is a non-profit public interest law center that partners with community groups to strengthen existing advocacy and service provision with legal representation and strategy. The Center's legal practice areas, including housing, immigration, and workers’ rights, reflect the most pressing needs of low-income people in the state. In collaboration with Roger Williams University School of Law, the Center brings together new lawyers, supervising legal staff, community groups, mentoring attorneys, and law students to support community groups in their efforts to expand justice and opportunity for all Rhode Islanders.

Program status: operational as of March 2015

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated in cooperation with the law school.
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support and donations.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed through independent compensated staff, volunteers, and law students. Currently there are four full-time equivalent employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers the participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • Program only accepts low-income clients.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected based on their interest and demonstrated ability in representing low-income clients.
  • Length of time in program: two years
  • Alumni role: They will serve as volunteer lawyer trainers for current fellows.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues  
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development  
Case referrals  
Pro bono opportunities  
Legal research resources
Other resources: The Roger Williams University School of Law fellows will receive training from the Executive Director (an experienced poverty lawyer), volunteer lawyers and judges, and members of the faculty and staff of Roger Williams University School of Law.

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SOUTH DAKOTA

Collaborative Legal Incubator Program (CLIP)
East River Legal Services 

Mission: CLIP provides access to the legal system for vulnerable, low to moderate-income clients by training lawyers to build sustainable and socially conscious legal practices.

Program status: operational since November 2015; launched with its first cohort October 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of East River Legal Services (legal aid).
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through bar association/foundation support.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff. There is one part time director (20 hours a week).
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take some pro bono cases and provides opportunities (but does not create an obligation) for taking moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an application and interview process.
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Number of participants: 4
  • Alumni role: They will be mentors and marketing the program, and hopefully contributing to it.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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TEXAS

Texas Apprenticeship Network
Texas A&M University School of Law

Mission: To help train and connect recent graduates who are committed to solo practice.

Program status: funding received April 2016; launching September 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of the Texas A&M University School of Law.
  • Funding: The program is funded through law school support and bar association/foundation support.
  • Staffing: The program is staffed by law school faculty and practicing attorneys who serve as field supervisors and take recent graduates into their practices. One full-time professor serves as the program supervisor. The professor has other responsibilities, and therefore the accelerator is not 100% of her time. In addition to the full-time professor and the field supervisor, an adjunct professor who is an experienced solo practitioner also teaches a practicum on law practice management. He also coaches the apprentices on their business plan and other issues related to launching their solo practices.
  • Malpractice insurance: The program urges participants to have insurance.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take pro bono cases and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an application and interview process.
  • Length of time in program: Formally, they work in the field supervisors' offices for at least three months. Thereafter, the informal mentoring relationship should continue, as well as the support/guidance on practice management.
  • Number of participants: Anticipated 9-12
  • Alumni role: They are asked to continue to network and support other alumni.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other: Practicum and coaching on law practice management by an adjunct-expert on law practice management

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Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator (TOJI)
State Bar of Texas

Program status: operational as of April 2017

Mission: We expand access to justice by supporting recently licensed lawyers in establishing sustainable practices serving for low- and modest-income Texans. Our goals are: 1) to match beginning lawyers who want to build their own practices with Texans’ unmet legal needs, and 2) to establish a model and curriculum for similar incubator projects throughout Texas.

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of the State Bar of Texas.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through bar association/foundation support.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by bar association staff. There is one full-time equivalent employee, the director. 
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has negotiated rates for participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and provides opportunities (but not obligations) for participants to serve modest–income clients.
  • There are no subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted, but participants must provide 100 hours of pro bono services during the first 12 months of the program.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: applicants are required to submit a resume and statement of interest. Applications are reviewed and selection interviews follow.
  • Number of participants: the program began with 10 participants and is expected to add up to 10 participants at 6 month intervals, for a maximum of up to 30 participants in different phases of the 18-month program.
  • Length of time in program: 18 months, with continued opportunities for alumni. 
  • Alumni role: alumni have promotional, mentoring, and training roles.   
Free office space
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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UTAH

Open Legal Services

Mission: Open Legal Services serves two primary missions: 1) To provide services on a sliding scale to clients who would be otherwise ineligible for pro bono legal services, but cannot afford private counsel; and 2) To create jobs and provide internship and fellowship placements for new attorneys in under-served legal markets throughout Utah.

Program status: operational as of November 2013

Organizational details:

  • Program is a free-standing organization.
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: the program is funded through donations and revenue from participants.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff and volunteers. Currently there are two administrative staff, and five full-time attorneys.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers the participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities to its participants (but does not create an obligation) and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • Subject matter is currently limited to domestic relations / family law cases in juvenile and district court and criminal defense.
  • Clients are divided into tiers based on their income as a percentage of the federal poverty level (FPL) and their household size. The scale is as follows:  <125% - 149% FPL = $60/hr; 150%-174% FPL = $65/hr; 175% - 199% FPL = $70/hr; 200% - 249% FPL = $75/hr; 250% - 299% FPL = $95/hr; 300% - 400% = $115/hr; >400% = $145/hr (requires approval by executive committee, accepted only in exceptional cases). Clients below guidelines (currently 125% of federal poverty level) require cosigner/guarantor; cutoff is at 400% of federal poverty level. In 2014 80% of clients were below 200% FPL.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected based on demonstrated interest in serving low and moderate income clients, and interest in family and domestic relations law. Staff attorneys are selected based on ability to manage case loads and meet billing and performance metrics. We anticipate fellowships to be offered in the future, the criteria for which are to be determined.
  • Length of time in program: 1+ years for staff attorneys, 1-2 semesters for interns, fellowships TBD.
  • Alumni role: Program alumni may have an opportunity to serve a term on the board of directors.
  • Resources provided to participants:

  • Free office space
    Subsidized office space  
    A stipend or other financial contribution
    Mentoring on substantive legal issues
    Opportunities to shadow lawyers
    Assistance and training with practice management issues
    Free or subsidized CLE programming  
    Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
    Online networking  
    In–person networking
    Programming on client development
    Case referrals  
    Pro bono opportunities  
    Legal research resources  
    Other: subsidized medical and dental benefits

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University Law Group
University of Utah S. J. Quinney College of Law

Mission: To serve the low bono segment of society and to train post graduates.

Program status: operational as of November 2011

Organizational details:

  • The program is a free–standing organization.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through revenue from the participants.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by participating attorneys
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers the participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • The program does not provide pro bono or moderate–income client opportunities to its participants.
  • The program applies income restrictions on the types of clients it accepts.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: the program accepts anyone who is interested.
  • Number of participants: 4–6 at any given time
  • Length of time in program: 1–2 years
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming  
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking  
In–person networking
Programming on client development  
Case referrals  
Pro bono opportunities  
Legal research resources  
Other resources  

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VERMONT

Vermont Lawyer Incubator Project
Vermont Bar Association and Vermont Law School

Mission: The program's goals are to: launch new lawyers in small or solo practice; attract and keep new lawyers who desire to practice in Vermont; serve underserved populations and geographic (rural) areas; support new lawyers with relevant CLEs, help them avoid ethical problems, and build their competence and confidence; and refresh the bar (and ultimately the bench).

Program status: operational as of May 2014

Organizational details:

  • Program is a joint project of the Vermont Bar Association and Vermont Law School.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: both the bar and the law school provide in-kind contributions (one VBA attorney and one VLS faculty member), mentorship from the bar, free courses and CLE's, and other forms of support.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed through law school faculty and bar association staff. There are no full-time employees. As noted above, two staff members, one from the law school and one from the bar, take primary responsibility for the program. Two other members of the bar serve on the four member Advisory Board -- the Executive Director of the VT Bar Association and the President of the Vermont Bar.
  • Malpractice insurance: incubator participants receive reduced-cost insurance from the insurance provider.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: the Advisory Board conducted an application process and selected 3 of the applicants.  The applicants had to have been admitted to the Vermont Bar; the limit to three is consistent with running a pilot that it is hoped will serve as a basis for expanding the program.
  • Number of participants: 3
  • Length of time in program: 18 months
  • Alumni role: participants are expected to mentor future participants -- in their last 6 months in the program and beyond.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources: Participants can audit one course each semester in any of the 3 semesters at the law school, free of charge; they have free membership in the Inns of Court and free bar membership; they get general support (such as through weekly Rounds which address a broad range of issues) and targeted trainings in addition to CLE's in areas identified by the project and by the participants. 

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VIRGINIA

Richmond Legal Development Center

Mission: The RLDC provides an environment for young attorneys to bridge the gap between the study and practice of law by providing a collaborative environment for young attorneys to establish their own practices. Attorneys participating in the RLDC also receive mentoring and instruction from experienced local attorneys and other professionals.

Program status: operational as of September 2013

 

Organizational details:

  • The program is a free-standing organization, located in the same building as Barbara Picard’s law practice.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is privately funded through the building owner.
  • Staffing: the program does not have any staff or full-time employees. Mentors volunteer to answer both legal questions related to client representation and non-legal questions related to establishing their practices.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires that participants have insurance but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides opportunities (but not obligations) for participants to take pro bono and moderate–income cases.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: attorneys Barbara Picard and Eppa Hunton select participants.
  • Number of participants: 5
  • Length of time in program: one year.
  • Alumni role: TBD
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming  
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development  
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities  
Legal research resources  
Other resources  

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WASHINGTON

Family Law Fellowship
Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP)

Mission: The Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that provides access to justice through free civil legal aid to low income residents of East and Northeast King County Washington and domestic violence legal aid throughout King County. To address a high need for free civil legal aid in family law cases, ELAP is instituting an annual Family Law Fellowship that allows attorneys without family law experience who are interested in starting their own practice (“Fellows”) the opportunity to get hands on experience with starting their own legal practice and learning the practice of family law.  

Program status: operational as of April 2014

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of a volunteer attorney agency.
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: the program is funded through grants and donations.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed through the Eastside Legal Assistance Program. Currently there are nine full-time employees.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program has insurance that covers participants.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants take some pro bono cases.
  • There are subject matter and income restrictions on the cases accepted by the program. Subject matter is limited to domestic violence family law. Clients must be at or below 200% of poverty guideline.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: selected through interviews
  • Length of time in program: one year
  • Alumni role: community outreach
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space  
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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Low Bono Incubator Program
Seattle University School of Law

Program status: operational as of January 2014

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded primarily through donations; everything other than staff time to run the program is funded by mostly gifts and the staff time is funded by the law school.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed through the law school's pro bono and public interest director who spends approximately 15% of 1 FTE position managing the program.  
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires that participants have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities to its participants (but does not create an obligation) and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.
  • Program has income restrictions on the types of clients; they ask that at least 60% of the participants’ clients be of moderate-income (between 200% and 400% of the federal poverty level).
  • One of the participants is focused on consumer law through a partnership with a consumer-focused legal organization which provides in-kind support through office space and mentorship. A legal aid funding foundation provides a grant for this participant's stipend.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: after submitting the following application materials, a selection committee chooses finalists who are then interviewed. The committee deliberates and collectively chooses seven candidates. The application materials are: 
    • A five-page application which includes questions about their demonstrated commitment to social justice, desire and experience with running a business, and the kind of law firm they want to establish.
    • A business plan of no more than three pages.
    • A resume.
    • Names and contact information for three references.
  • Number of participants: 7
  • Length of time in program: one year
  • Alumni role: incubator attorneys assist with recruiting possible candidates for the next year, public relations to market the program and advancement efforts to raise funds for the program.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources
Other resources:
1) Participants have access to use the Moderate Means Program which is a partnership between the law schools and the WA State Bar Association where supervised law students do intakes of moderate means people in the areas of housing, family and consumer and refer them to attorneys willing to charge reduced fees.  If the Incubator Attorneys are accepting clients with family, housing or consumer problems, they can get referrals from this program.
2) The space that the participants have access to is a co-worker space offered by a social justice and innovation oriented company that facilitates weekly networking and training opportunities across disciplines/fields/industries.

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INTERNATIONAL

Centro Comunitario de Servicios Legales (Community Legal Services Center) CECSEL
in the Dominican Republic

Mission: To provide professional practice experience to recent graduates from Dominican law schools in order to help to increase access to justice for marginalized and vulnerable groups of society.

Program status: operational as of April 2014

Organizational details:

  • Program was initially operated under the auspices of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD).
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through grants from the American Embassy in Santo Domingo.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program urges participants to have insurance, though it is not the norm in the Dominican Republic.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program provides pro bono opportunities to its participants (but does not create an obligation) and requires that participants take cases serving moderate-income clients.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Through the sending of their curricula vitae and doing an interview with staff members of the incubator and the foundation to which it belongs.
  • Number of participants: 8
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Alumni role: alumni will continue to participate as volunteer mentors and advisors since they are part of CECSEL’s alumni network.
  • Resources provided to participants:

  • Free office space
    Subsidized office space  
    A stipend or other financial contribution
    Mentoring on substantive legal issues
    Opportunities to shadow lawyers
    Assistance and training with practice management issues
    Free or subsidized CLE programming
    Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
    Online networking
    In–person networking
    Programming on client development
    Case referrals
    Pro bono opportunities
    Legal research resources

Insaf Centre for Legal Excellence


Mission:
To bolster an ambience of pro bono and “low bono” legal aid mechanisms and improve the capacity of young lawyers so that they are better able to create and sustain economically viable solo or small firm practices that address the unmet legal needs of moderate to low-income individuals and families.

Program status: operational as of February 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices of an NGO.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of State.
  • Staffing: the program has independent compensated staff, volunteers and consultants. There are 3 full-time equivalent employees.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Participants are selected through an application and interview process.
  • Length of time in program: 18 months
  • Number of participants: 8 initially
  • Alumni role: They will eventually mentor incoming incubatees.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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National Federation of Associations of Roma Women Incubator

Mission:
 To support Roma lawyers who wish to start solo or small firm practices that serve the unmet legal needs of Roma communities in Andalusia, Spain.

Program status: operational as of February 2016

Organizational details:

  • Program operates under the auspices of a non-governmental organization (NGO).
  • Participants are considered to be part of a single program law firm.
  • Funding: The program is funded through grants from the Open Society Justice Initiative of the Open Society Foundation.
  • Staffing: The program has independent compensated staff and volunteers.
  • Malpractice insurance: The program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • There are no income or subject matter restrictions on the types of cases that are accepted.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Preference is given to Roma lawyers with a demonstrated commitment to social justice and a desire to eventually open their own practices in underserved communities.
  • Length of time in program: 18 months
  • Number of participants: 2
  • Alumni role: Alumni will serve as mentors.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues
Free or subsidized CLE programming
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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Symbiosis Law School, Symbiosis International University in Pune, India

Mission: To serve the vulnerable classes of society – children, women, senior citizens, third gender, farmers, labourers etc. – through the capacity building of incubator trainees.

Program status: inaugurated in 2010; updated and fully operational in 2014

Organizational details:

  • Program is operated under the auspices the law school.
  • Participants operate their own independent law firms.
  • Funding: the program is funded through law school support.
  • Staffing: the program is staffed by law school faculty.
  • Malpractice insurance: the program requires participants to have insurance, but does not provide it to them.

Types of cases handled:

  • Program requires that participants do some pro bono and requires that participants take cases serving moderate–income clients.
  • The program takes cases serving the indigent in matters of property, insurance and domestic violence.

Participants:

  • Participant selection: Based on the enthusiasm, expertise, competence and accessibility.
  • Number of participants: 8
  • Length of time in program: 1 year
  • Alumni role: alumni will continue to participate as advisors and educators.
  • Resources provided to participants:
Free office space
Subsidized office space  
A stipend or other financial contribution  
Mentoring on substantive legal issues
Opportunities to shadow lawyers
Assistance and training with practice management issues  
Free or subsidized CLE programming  
Free or subsidized malpractice insurance  
Online networking
In–person networking  
Programming on client development
Case referrals
Pro bono opportunities
Legal research resources

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Resources