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Law Incubator to Open in March at Cleveland State University

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Cleveland State University is going to operate a solo practice incubator, with ten attorneys who recently graduated from the school, according to The Plain Dealer. The office will be in a section of the library at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. They will pay $200 in rent per month for the office.

The lawyers working in the office have to bring their own computer and phone, but will be able to use a fax and copy machine supplied by the school. The university will also provide them with a conference room and a break room. Vendor discounts and reduced health and liability insurance will be available in a partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.

The law school incubator at Cleveland State University is the first of its kind in the state of Ohio and one of just 10 in the United States. There is an incubator at the Columbus Bar Association too. The office is expected to begin operations in March.

“We offer students the resources to explore solo practice as a viable, chosen career path early in their law school education, and we are now able to provide them with affordable office space close to the courts and our law library once they graduate,” said Cleveland-Marshall Dean Craig Boise, in a news release. “While our graduates have a thorough understanding of the law, they might not have the background necessary for starting their own business. We believe the programming and resources the incubator offers will bridge that educational gap.”

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The coordinator of the incubator will be Ashley Jones. Jones graduated from Cleveland State University’s law school in 2011 and is a criminal defense attorney with her own practice. Jones is planning to spend 10 hours per week at the incubator. She will also have discussion forums and schedule speakers from various sectors of the law.

“The first two years are the formative ones and determine if you are going to make it in this business,” she said in a phone interview.

Jones noted that tenants are allowed to leave the incubator at anytime, without being penalized, if they find a job or decide to start their own office. The current office space can house 10 lawyers, but offices for five more attorneys will be added before the end of this year. Jones said that those new offices will more than likely be rented to students who graduate this year and pass the bar exam.

Officials from the school said they hope the incubator will give current law students chances to obtain externships and clinic work.

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