Saturday, August 23, 2014
Yup, another law school earlier this month launched yet another incubator project according to the Boston Business Journal. This time it's UMass School of Law that has started a project called "Justice Bridge" which will put law grads (including one from Northeastern) to work helping lower income clients who have the means to pay a discounted fee but who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford a lawyer. Participating lawyers will earn a salary based on those discounted fees which the program's director expects will translate into the equivalent of a $50k annual salary. Participants have to make a two year commitment to the program (though they can leave earlier if they get another job) in exchange for which they will receive office space, mentors and other support. The Boston Business Journal has the full story here. An excerpt is below. But also check out Robert Ambrogi's LawSites blog which has additional details about "Justice Bridge."
The University of Massachusetts School of Law Dartmouth has arrived on Boston's legal scene, this week debuting a new venture in the Financial District that's designed like a start-up incubator — but for lawyers to launch their careers.
Called Justice Bridge, the center is located in basement space at 274 Franklin St. and it serves two purposes, first by employing graduates of UMass Dartmouth Law School and second by providing reduced-fee legal services for people who cannot afford the full fare of a Boston law firm but are able to pay something. With its mission as a public law school to provide access to legal education and access to legal services, UMass Dartmouth Law School and Justice Bridge have a natural synergy, said Mary Lu Bilek, dean of the UMass Dartmouth Law School
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The attorneys who work with Justice Bridge pay membership fees, which will be set at $500 a month starting in January when the pilot program has concluded. For that fee, the attorneys will get a furnished office space and access to business referrals by legal service providers with which Justice Bridge has relationships.
They also have access to mentors, including retired judges and attorneys as well as experienced senior partners from Boston, who will work with the Justice Bridge attorneys in “much the same way a partner would an associate in a large firm,” Zandrow said.
They will be asked to make a two-year commitment to Justice Bridge, although they can leave early if they find other employment. Their costs will include buying legal malpractice insurance and the cost of incorporating as a business so “they are not personally liable or exposed,” said Zandrow.
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For more information about the legal incubator projects begun by other schools, go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. The ABA also maintains a list of legal incubators here.