In a report from The National Law Journal, the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law has announced that it is creating a solo incubator for its graduates who are trying to start their own practices. The school is going to spend $1.2 million to build offices in the law school’s library for those practices. So far, 10 law schools across the country have started incubator programs. Some of those schools include the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, the Pace Law School and the City University of New York School of Law.
The dean of Cleveland-Marshall, Craig Boise, said, “We looked at our data, in terms of where our students were going into practice, and we saw that about 15 percent go into solo practice on a fairly consistent basis. We thought, ‘We’re really not doing enough to prepare them.’ ”
Cleveland-Marshall created a task force two years ago to investigate the possibility of an incubator program. Boise noted that prerequisites will include classes such as professionalism and ethics and practice management.
In 2007, Boise went to the incubator at City University of New York School of Law. Boise said, “I was inspired. There were graduates who were really helping each other and there was a real sense of community. I think it’s hard to be isolated, running a practice from your basement, and these graduates had really bonded.”
According to the school’s plans, 15 offices will be constructed to go along with a reception area and conference rooms. All of this will be built in a portion of the library that currently is not in use. The library is not far from the courtrooms in downtown Cleveland. Graduates of the law school will be able to rent the offices for a period of 18 to 24 months for a low cost as they build their practices.
“These are students who will be struggling to make a practice work,” Boise said. “I don’t see the value of saddling them with pro bono requirements.”
The school plans to begin the incubator program following the passing of the bar exam by the class of 2013. Construction of the offices should begin soon and end sometime during the summer months.