Law Students

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Launching Solo Incubator
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With the economy confirming few jobs at law firms, a greater number of new graduates who had never thought of starting solo practice have begun to consider it. Needless to say, law schools are well aware that JD programs at most institutions are not aligned to create ‘lawyers’ but ‘law firm employees,’ and the sudden shrinkage in the job market are leaving new graduates directionless. To cope with the situation, law schools have begun offering solo incubators to new graduates with Thomas Jefferson School of Law being the latest on the list.

The first law school to introduce a solo incubator program for new graduates is the City University of New York School of Law, which begun such a program in 2007. New York’s lead was followed by the University Of Missouri Kansas City School Of Law and the University Of Maryland Francis King Carey School Of Law. The Pace Law School has joined the list recently before Thomas Jefferson School of Law decided to adopt the strategy.

The concept of the solo incubator includes a post graduation program through which affordable office space and mentoring from the university faculty would be available to graduates to help them learn how to run solo practices. Thomas Jefferson School of Law would start accepting applications for the solo incubator program in July and expects to start off with about eight initial participants. The aspirants would spend between one to one-and-a-half years in the incubator before setting up their own practices. The candidates would also be helped by MBA students from the San Diego State University who would be researching the solo practitioner market and help in identifying target niche markets with opportunities and help to set up fee structures.

  
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Thomas Jefferson professor Luz Herrera told the media that the competition to solo practitioners is not from law firms but from do-it-yourself providers like LegalZoom. New York School of Law’s Fred Rooney, who developed the first such solo incubator programs, would be helping the faculty at Thomas Jefferson to make the program a success.

Rooney told the media “As more solo incubators are conceptualized by law a school, each one is going to be unique … I think the Thomas Jefferson model is going to emphasize cross-border matters.”

The preliminary plans for helping those who want to become solo practitioners include taking suggestions from local bar associations and practicing attorneys about improving the law school curriculum. Practicing attorneys may also be invited to lecture on topics including professional practice tips like “how to market yourself” and “how to maintain good relationships with opposing counsel.”

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