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Incubator Guide

Submitted by Tiffany Roberts on Wed, 03-09-2016
Long title
Incubator Guide: A Publication of the California Commission on Access to Justice
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Website or Blog Author(s)'/ Editor(s)' contact information
Kelli Evans 415-538-2352
Law practice incubators have emerged in recent years in response to several
factors, including a decrease in the number of attorney jobs, an increasing
recognition that new lawyers have not been educated in the practical skills required
to practice law, and the chronic, pervasive lack of affordable legal services available
to low and moderate income people.
Providing adequate legal assistance to those who cannot afford it has long been a
challenge for the legal profession. The economic downturn in recent years has
brought added urgency to that challenge, and this topic is now at the forefront of
discussions on the future of the profession both nationally and here in California.
Millions of Americans need but cannot afford lawyers, and there has never been a
better time to think creatively about the solutions.
The Modest Means Incubator Project of the California Commission on Access to
Justice is part of a national movement intended to connect practical training for
newer lawyers with providing excellent and affordable legal assistance to low and
moderate income clients on a range of topics including family and housing law,
labor code violations, consumer debt, and more.
The Access Commission created this reference guide to assist organizations that are
considering creating a legal incubator program, particularly one that serves low and
moderate income clients. This guide describes a range of key elements of more
than two dozen U.S. legal incubators, and includes links to examples from existing
programs. Also included in the guide are recommendations regarding the
fundamentals involved in planning an incubator program.
The best programs will be self-sustaining, provide 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.
The legal incubator concept still is young, and no descriptive survey has been
published so far of the many ways that incubator programs currently are
constituted, although the ABA has a terrific directory of current and planned
incubators, including a profile of each incubator that is listed. What follows is an
attempt to describe a variety of incubator programs along with some of their key
United States
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