California Western School of Law is the latest law school to add an incubator law office.
If you don't know what an incubator law office is, you're not alone. These programs set up by law schools are relatively new, and aim to benefit both starting attorneys and low-income clients.
California Western's incubator law office is modeled after the program at CUNY School of Law and is designed to aid new graduates to gain experience while offering low-cost legal services to San Diego residents, reports JD Journal.
Under the incubator program, the law school sets up a low-cost working environment for its attorneys. This can include office space as well as training and mentoring services for the inexperienced attorneys.
In exchange, attorneys at the incubator commit to giving back to the community through pro-bono and low-fee work. The eight attorneys in California Western's incubator will be able to operate their own practice, but they must pledge at least 100 hours of pro bono work a year as well as provide a "sliding scale fee," reports JD Journal.
Attorneys will enter into the program for one year, and the hope is that they will emerge with the business sense and experience to run their own firm, and aspire to help the underserved as well.
For attorneys looking to hang out their own shingle, such incubators are a great way to start off without being completely alone. With mentors and colleagues, you will have a sounding board and guidance to get you through the difficult legal issues.
Plus, working for underserved clients will leave you feeling proud of your work. That's something many highly paid law firm attorneys cannot claim.
Incubators are relatively new. If you are interested in such a program, you should consider contacting a local law school. If such a program doesn't already exist, you could help garner interest in establishing one.