Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Back in November we told you about yet another incubator project to help new law grads gain practical experience under the watchful eye of experienced mentors. But the Justice Entrepreneurs Project has a unique twist compared to most of the other incubator projects started in the last few years. This one is a private initiative funded by local law firms, businesses and unclaimed class action settlements. Bloomberg Businessweek has another nice write-up about this innovative approach to teaching new lawyers practice skills:
One block west of Chicago’s Loop, young entrepreneurs occupy a 4,300-square-foot open-plan office in a renovated old warehouse. They’re not hunched over laptops trying to code the next hot app. Instead, they’re scouring paperwork, helping people fight eviction, file divorces, write wills, or apply for citizenship.
“You know immediately when you walk in this place this is not your typical law office,” says Bob Glaves, executive director of the Chicago Bar Foundation. That’s by design. The group launched the Justice Entrepreneurs Project, an incubator for young lawyers who want to run their own practices, last June.
The idea is to address two problems in America’s legal market. Law schools are graduating more lawyers than big firms want to hire. At the same time, what many attorneys charge for nuts-and-bolts legal services is too costly for many middle-class and working-class clients.
Taking a page from startup incubators in the tech industry, the bar foundation is recruiting young lawyers with an entrepreneurial bent to re-engineer the law firm business model.
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Continue reading here.
Hat tip to Above the Law.