At the CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP), we prepare talented and entrepreneurial lawyers in the Chicago area to launch and manage innovative, socially conscious, and successful law practices. One way we do this is through our comprehensive training program that focuses on building a new kind of practice one that is more accessible and affordable to low and middle income legal consumers.
Our in-house training focuses on the business side of launching and managing an innovative law practice. During the first week boot camp and then once a week thereafter for six months, participants have access to top notch trainings led by professionals from the CBF’s strong network of partners, all of whom provide these services pro bono. The training curriculum includes core innovation topics such as pricing services in a predictable, value-based fashion and effectively using technology tools to improve client engagement and efficiency. The curriculum also includes key business fundamentals such as customer service, business development, and effective communications.
In month seven of the program, participants start their one-on-one business development coaching sessions with experts from GrowthPlay. They also are paired with JEP Alumni mentors who guide and assist them through completion of the program. Participants also continue to have access to supplemental trainings on topics such as attorney wellness, entrepreneurship and innovation, and growing their law practices. Last year, the JEP offered dozens of in-house trainings for JEP participants and alumni.
Participants get their substantive legal training from the CBF partner legal aid organizations, the Chicago Bar Association, and other CLE partners. During the first six months of the program, JEP attorneys are placed at one of the CBF’s partner legal aid organizations for 20 hours a week for a pro bono residency. During that time, JEP attorneys gain experience and expertise in their practice area(s) working under a supervising attorney. These residencies help them build substantive skills, develop mentoring relationships that carry on long after the residencies end, and build relationships with the organization that often result in referrals. By the end of the six months, each JEP participant has completed over 500 hours of pro bono service.
JEP attorneys also have access to free, high-quality CLE through partners such as The Chicago Bar Association, Pincus Professional Education, and the Practising Law Institute, and to free or heavily discounted technology tools thanks to our many generous legal tech partners.
The JEP would not be possible without its dedicated and diverse network of partners from throughout the legal, technology, business and philanthropic communities who are providing key pro bono and in-kind support. These pro bono and in-kind donations are valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
What sets JEP lawyers apart what gives them an edge as they build sustainable law practices that expand access to justice are the resources available to them through the JEP and the many generous partners that support them.