On May 8, the Justice Entrepreneurs Project welcomed a new cohort of participants into the incubator program. They are the ninth class of lawyers to join the JEP network, which now includes over 50 solo and small law firms with lawyers who are currently participating in or have completed the JEP program. We are excited to help these seven attorneys build innovative, affordable, and accessible law practices that meet the needs of low and moderate income people in and around Chicago. The participant attorneys, for their part, are eager to begin their pro bono residencies at CBF-supported legal aid organizations.
Jessica Bell will build a practice in family law, estate planning, and nonprofit law while working with Chicago Legal Clinic. Daniel Hernandez (family law, landlord/tenant), Christina Martell (estate planning, probate, adoption, guardianship), and Tina Tran (bankruptcy, expungements) will work with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, which has already hosted almost 20 JEP participants. T.J. Walczak will concentrate on criminal and landlord/tenant law and will be working at Cabrini Green Legal Aid. Stephanie Garces and Ericka McFee will focus on immigration law during their time at the National Immigrant Justice Center.
The first week kicked off with an immersive series of trainings, including an overview of the legal needs of low and moderate income clients and advice on how to effectively reach and serve those clients. Other highlights of the first week included: innovation in legal service delivery, unbundling, alternative pricing strategies (subtitled The Billable Hour is Dead), risk mitigation and ethics, Internet presence for attorneys, a primer on business development and client-centric service, and business planning and strategy using the business model canvas.
New JEP attorneys also received training from CARPLS in the areas of family, housing, and consumer law in preparation for volunteering on the CARPLS hotline, another part of the JEPers’ pro bono experience. The second week brought a training from the CBA’s own Catherine Sanders Reach, who discussed practice management technology in the first of many JEP trainings that highlight the potential of technology to make law practices more efficient and affordable. These trainings are just the beginning of a structured curriculum that extends throughout the JEP’s 18-month program.
Congratulations and good luck to the new Justice Entrepreneurs Project attorneys!