Earlier this month, the tenth cohort of lawyers joined the Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP), the CBF’s incubator program that helps newer lawyers launch innovative practices to make legal services more affordable and accessible for thousands of low and moderate income people in our community.
Over the next 18 months, these seven new JEP participants will receive the training, resources, and support necessary to develop sustainable law practices that provide services to the many thousands of people who make too much to qualify for legal aid but otherwise face a dearth of realistic options in the current legal market. JEP lawyers are building practices that tackle this market failure by offering fixed fees and flexible representation options, maximizing technology and attorney-client collaboration, and leveraging existing but previously untapped referral networks.
Our first all-female cohort will practice in areas of law where affordable and accessible representation can be hard to find. Emily Welter will focus on family law and immigration. Ambar Gonzalez will build an immigration practice and take on landlord tenant matters. Shymane Robinson will work on housing issues and plans to help small businesses get started. Lauren Cichowski and Andrea Karle will also build practices that cater to small businesses, with niche focuses in food and tax matters, respectively. Jennifer Rosser will practice in probate and health law, and Brittany Howard will build a criminal law practice.
Though the JEP is only four years old, organizations across the country and around the world already view it as a model program for developing market-based solutions that expand access to legal services to low and moderate income clients. In 2017 alone, lawyers in the JEP network will help over 5,000 clients in and around Chicago the vast majority of whom are in this target market. And as they blaze new trails for the profession and access to justice, JEP attorneys are building sustainable practices as well: lawyers in the JEP network collectively will generate $4 million in revenue this year.