Elon University School of Law has created the Elon Law Legal Incubator to support Elon Law graduates who wish to develop solo law practices and to create opportunities for lawyers to provide reduced-cost legal services for low-income residents of Guilford County.
“Elon Law graduates are excited to practice law and help their clients,” said Elon Law Dean Luke Bierman. “Our Legal Incubator accelerates our graduates’ professional maturation to ensure that they provide excellent services that are consistent with Elon Law’s commitment as a hub of learning, lawyering and leadership.”
Located at 208 Commerce Place in downtown Greensboro, the Elon Law Legal Incubator is on the same city block as Elon Law and two blocks from federal and state courts that form the legal hub of central North Carolina.
“The goal for the incubator is to produce successful practitioners who will leave the program after eighteen months with a record of accomplishment, pro bono service and financially viable, freestanding practices,” said Elon Law Professor Peter Hoffman, one of the nation’s leading trial and appellate advocacy experts, who is managing the development of the incubator. “The Law School graduates selected as inaugural Elon Law Legal Incubator participants embody the pioneering entrepreneurial spirit of Elon Law students and alumni and join the ranks of former students who have established thriving practices in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and other cities.”
The Elon Law Legal Incubator begins operations in 2016 with four lawyers who are Elon Law graduates: Blinn Cushman, Kathryn Corey, Tyrone Davis and Robin Kester. Participants are selected through a competitive application process.
“The Elon Law Legal Incubator has provided us with resources that are important to the success of a new law practice,” said Kester. “Specifically, Elon Law has reached out to local attorneys who have agreed to become mentors for us in different topical areas of the law. Having an experienced attorney to call or email when you have a question about the law or how to handle a certain situation is extremely beneficial.”
“Starting my own practice has been exciting and challenging,” said Corey. “I really value the support I’ve received from Elon Law faculty members and the Guilford County legal community. In addition to serving a broad range of clients as an Elon Law Legal Incubator participant, I am also looking forward to finding new ways to serve low income families in the area.”
Participants in the Elon Law Legal Incubator develop law practices of their own, but work in a cooperative shared-space environment that is provided by Elon Law and functions as a complete law office. Elon Law Legal Incubator participants provide services to fee-paying clients, while also providing 300 hours of pro bono or “low bono” services (discounted legal services to low-income clients) over the 18-month duration of their time with the program. Pro bono opportunities are by referral through Elon Law’s five law clinics, Legal Aid of North Carolina, and other similar non-profit community organizations. Through programs provided or coordinated by Elon Law, Legal Incubator participants will receive training in the business of running a law practice and training in substantive areas of the law.
Elon Law Legal Incubator participants operate as independent law offices, but receive many benefits from Elon Law or partnering entities, including:
- Low-cost office space and access to the Elon Law library and incubator practice library
- Free use of legal research computer programs provided by the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) and the American Bar Association
- Training in the business of running a solo practice
- Training in procedural areas of law
- Opportunities for case referrals and for pro bono and low bono work
- Mentoring by Elon Law faculty and members of the Greensboro Bar Association
- One-year free membership in the NCBA
- Opportunities to network with other new attorneys
- Office equipment and services including: Internet access, printer, copier, scanner, fax and standard office tools.
The support provided to Elon Law Legal Incubator participants enables a significant reduction in costs associated with setting up and operating a solo law practice.
Elon University School of Law is leading innovation in legal education by integrating traditional classroom instruction with highly experiential full-time residencies-in-practice in a logically sequenced program of professional preparation. This unique approach to legal education provides graduates with the knowledge, skills and ethics focus necessary to excel as 21st century lawyers. Designed to accelerate professional maturation, Elon Law’s groundbreaking approach is accomplished in two and one-half years, which provides distinctive value by lowering tuition and permitting graduates early entry into their professional careers. Learn more at law.elon.edu.