The Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP) recently started its third class of participants, bringing the program to capacity with a total of 29 participating lawyers. Chosen through a competitive selection process and hailing from seven different law schools, the new participants are: Anthony Abou Ezzi, Mark Almanza, Rachel Boehm, Cindy Campbell, Sivonnia Debarros, Stacey Dembo, Esther Lee, Paul Lytle and James Plucinsky. These lawyers are committed to developing innovative practices providing quality legal services that are accessible and affordable. We are excited to support them in that endeavor.
On May 5, the nine new participants began with a full day of training and a lunch with members of the JEP Steering Committee and participants already in the program. The training, which continued throughout the week, provided an overview of the legal needs of low and moderate income clients and how to reach and serve those clients. Participants also received essential information on getting a law firm up and running, including ethical and professional responsibility issues, business considerations, law practice management and related technology options, and marketing and business development approaches. The training focused on practical guidance for creating sustainable solo and small firm practices serving low and moderate income clients, and is just the start of a structured, comprehensive curriculum for the lawyers in the JEP program.
The new JEP class also received training from CARPLS in the areas of family, housing and consumer law in preparation for volunteering on the CARPLS hotline as part of the JEP’s structured pro bono program. In addition to work on the hotline, each participant has been placed with a legal aid organization and has begun gaining valuable skills, experience and mentoring through pro bono work there. For this newest class of participants, these organizations are: LAF, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, Equip for Equality, AIDS Legal Council of Chicago and the Center for Economic Progress.
We’re extremely grateful to all of the presenters who contributed their time and knowledge during the new class’s first month in the program: Mark Marquardt (Lawyers Trust Fund), Pat Wrona (CARPLS), Will Hornsby and Joshua Poje (ABA), Catherine Sanders Reach and Chelsey Lambert (CBA), Deb Knupp (Akina), Kathleen Buck and Bill Lansdon (Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company), Bob Verrando (IARDC), Alan Neff, Sean Kruskol (Cornerstone Research), and Tom Truax (True Partners Consulting). Thanks also to all of the legal aid organizations hosting the new JEP participants (listed above) and to the additional organizations where previous JEP participants have been placed Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, Chicago Legal Clinic, The Law Project and National Immigrant Justice Center.