JEP Frequently Asked Questions
The goal of the JEP is to expand legal services to low and moderate-income clients by developing new market-based models of legal service through which lawyers in solo or small practices can sustainably serve clients with moderate incomes. The JEP practice models rely in particular on maximizing the use of “unbundling,” technology and fixed fees. Newer lawyers with an entrepreneurial streak are provided with essential support and resources to help them develop their practices into self-sustaining businesses. While the economics are different than traditional technology and business incubators, the JEP aims to duplicate the innovation and collaborative advances that have come through those programs.
The participants run their practices out of the collaborative office space located in downtown Chicago at 208 S. Jefferson, Suite 204, just steps away from Union Station. The modern loft space includes, in part:
- an open, shared workspace, with individual desks for those farther along in the program;
- private, shared-use offices and conference rooms for meeting with clients and others;
- wireless internet access, and
- printing and copying capabilities.
Participants working in a shared location encourages peer mentoring, collaboration and collective innovation.
The JEP incubates firms that come in many forms, including LLCs, PCs, LLPs, NFPs, and unincorporated solo practitioners. All JEP firms are committed to serving the needs of regular people in a market based, self-sustaining manner. Accordingly, though the JEP may incubate a nonprofit firm that sustains itself solely on fees generated from serving low and moderate income clients, the JEP does not support the creation of nonprofit firms that rely on external inputs (like grants) to be sustainable.
All program participants are required to be CBA members in order to tap into existing CBA training and mentoring programs to the maximum extent possible. The CBA’s Director of Law Practice Management and Technology is a key partner and the JEP relies on her programming for many aspects of the law practice management and technology curriculum. In addition, we are working with the CBA Lawyer Referral Service on referral and partnership possibilities. We expect the JEP participants will remain strongly tied to the CBA after the program.