Justice Entrepreneurs Project

The CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP) is a small business incubator that helps lawyers start innovative, socially conscious law practices serving low and middle income Chicagoans. The JEP draws on principles of entrepreneurship and experimentation common in the tech startup community to develop disruptive, market-based models to improve access to legal services.

The CBF originally developed and launched the JEP—and continues to provide core funding and a variety of other support—to address a growing access to justice challenge in our community: the failure in the private market for legal services for low and middle-income people. JEP lawyers are building practices that offer fixed fees and flexible representation options, maximize technology and attorney-client collaboration, and leverage existing but previously untapped referral networks.

To date, the JEP has helped more than 50 attorneys build sustainable businesses serving this market. In the past year alone, JEP attorneys helped more than 3,700 low to middle-income clients and brought in over $5.24 million in revenue in the process. In addition to the direct impact of that work, the CBF is identifying successful and replicable practice models and helping to spread these innovations to the broader legal market. Dozens of organizations across the country and beyond already have adopted the JEP model or leveraged JEP resources to improve access to legal services in their own communities.

To learn more, contact Jessica Bednarz, Director of Innovation & the JEP, at 312.546.9939 or jbednarz@chicagobarfoundation.org.