Saturday, October 8, 2016

A new incubator program at Texas A&M University School of Law

A summary of the new program by Texas A & M Assistant Dean Susan Fortney published by The National Law Journal.

Can incubator programs really boost law graduate success?


Texas A&M University School of Law is introducing a new incubator program designed to accelerate recent graduates’ transition from law school to solo and small firm practice.


The program, the first incubator-type launched in Texas, was created in response to the need to train recent law graduates for solo practice and to help bridge the state’s justice gap.


The Texas Bar Foundation approved a grant to support the program, “The Texas Apprenticeship Network: Empowering Solo Practitioners to Help Bridge the Justice Gap.” Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $16 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, The Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.


The Texas Apprenticeship Program will match recent law graduates with practitioners who share the common goal of helping address the state’s growing need for attorneys to assist pro bono and modest means clients.


The recent graduates, as apprentices, will work in the offices of solo and small firm attorneys who will mentor them in communities and areas of interest in which they want to work after admission to law practice.


Through this process, the apprentices will obtain experience while learning about practice management. The mentors will also commit to connecting them in the community.


The apprentices will also complete a practicum on law practice management. In the practicum, they will develop their business plans and tools for their solo practices, and it will provide network and opportunities for innovation.


Professor Susan Fortney, the organizer of the program, stated that the Texas Apprenticeship Network promises to provide high impact at a relatively low cost.


“Instead of sending graduates into the profession and trusting that healthy mentorships will develop organically, we’re formally teaming graduates with practice leaders from day one,” she said.


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