Justice Entrepreneurs Project

The Justice Entrepreneurs Project is an incubator for newer lawyers to start innovative, socially conscious law practices in the Chicago area that provide affordable services to low and moderate-income people, a vastly underserved client base. With the help of a strong network of partners, the JEP provides training, mentoring, and other resources and support to help participants establish sustainable law practices that address these unmet legal needs in the community. 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.

Borrowing principles from successful incubators in the business and technology fields, the JEP provides training, resources and support to participant attorneys who are committed to providing affordable and accessible services for low and moderate-income people in our community. The JEP, an eighteen month program, begins with a strong pro bono service component that places participants at partner legal aid organizations as resident attorneys. During these placements, JEP lawyers provide much-needed legal services to clients of legal aid organizations. At the same time, the JEP lawyers build their networks, increase in confidence and competency, and gain vital experience and mentoring. In the later phases of the program, JEP lawyers make full use of the collaborative office environment to grow practices aligned with the principles enumerated below.

JEP lawyers are committed to making quality legal services accessible by building innovative and sustainable practices that:

  • serve the needs of regular people
  • are client-centered and emphasize approachability, compassion and collaboration between clients and attorney, and
  • make legal assistance more affordable and transparent by offering fixed fees and flexible representation options, and leveraging technology to increase efficiency.

The CBF makes this program possible by bringing Chicago’s legal community together to support and collaborate in the JEP. The CBF leverages significant pro bono and in-kind donations to provide much of the training and resources, and connects participants to the CBF’s vast network of experience and expertise.

The JEP’s first group of 10 participants began in June 2013 and completed the program in November of the following year. More than 50 lawyers now are currently participating in or have completed the program and remain part of the JEP network.


To learn more, contact Trevor Clarke, JEP Director, at (312) 546-9939 or tclarke@chicagobar.org, or Jessica Bednarz, JEP Director of Innovation & Training, at (312) 554-8022 or jbednarz@chicagobar.org.