Incubators are all the rage in the (non-law) business world. They exist to provide start-ups of all flavors with resources, connections, and sometimes outright cold hard cash so that they can succeed. In the law arena, incubators have been a bit slower to catch on, but there are now a number of programs housed at law schools and bar associations across the country. Many are focused on access to justice issues, but several concentrate on solosmall practice.
The University of Detroit Mercy has one, as does the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Charlotte School of Law has a small practice center aimed at providing office space and mentors to recent graduates. The Cleveland-Marshall School of Law helps recent grads establish a private law practice right away and the Chicago-Kent School of Law’s incubator program targets “entrepreneurially-minded” graduates.
What most of these programs have in common, however, is that they are available only to people that graduate from that institution. This is true, even, of the program run by the Memphis Bar Association: it’s co-facilitated by the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and you have to be a recent graduate of that school.
The new program from the State Bar of Georgia, however, flings the doors wide open to recent grads from any of the ABA-accredited schools in the state (there are five, in case you were wondering).
The state bar’s board of governors in June agreed to contribute $85,000 a year for three years to help fund the program. Each of Georgia’s five law schools has agreed to chip in another $25,000 toward the program’s first year of operation.
Participants get training, office space, and mentors. You have to start shelling out money (although at “less than the prevailing rate for office space”) for that office space, located in downtown in Atlanta, after 6 months, though, but hopefully the connections and mentoring might be worth it to a new graduate that wants to make a go of a solo or small practice. Juggernauts like Dropbox came out of the famed Y-Combinator business incubator and that has been valued in the billions — that’s with a “b” — so who is to say that an incubator can’t produce the Next Big Solosmall Thing?
Featured image: “Human hand holding a new born little baby chicken in incubator ” from Shutterstock.