The Los Angeles Incubator Consortium (LAIC) is a collaboration between Southwestern Law School, UCLA School of Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, local legal aid organizations and the Los Angeles County Law Library. The program was established as a pilot program in January 2015 through a grant from the State Bar of California's Commission on Access to Justice. Graduates from the consortium law schools are selected to join the program for one year and receive the basic training needed to get their solo legal practices up and running, and at the same time develop relationships that allow them to serve the local community's legal needs. Pro bono hours and training is provided by consortium members Bet Tzedek, Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law, Community Legal Services, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Neighborhood Legal Services and/or Public Counsel.
LAIC works closely with their incubator participants (“new solos”) for a period of 12 months. During this time, they are receiving mentoring and training on substantive areas of law and ethical law practice management. A requirement for program participation is contribution of 100 hours of pro bono work (including the training required to prepare them for such work). This work is performed through a variety of opportunities developed by the legal services community partners. Program participants receive mentoring, including access to a group of lawyers and retired judges who are working with the new solos to provide feedback about strategy. Legal services organizations provide substantive legal training in the areas where new solos will be doing pro bono. Each new solo is gaining legal experience while performing pro bono while also developing relationships that may lead to building their practices.
For training beyond the capacity of legal services organizations (e.g. law practice management), LAIC is working with the law schools and the Los Angeles County Law Library to coordinate these trainings which consist of day-long or multi-day training sessions in substantive areas of law.
By working together, members of LAIC are learning from each other and in the future, plan to expand the program in a countywide effort that reaches other underserved pockets of Los Angeles County. Our geographic area and need is so great that it will take all of us working together with the new solos as we develop models that work for law graduates, legal aid organizations, and the client community.
Los Angeles Incubator Consortium Training Session
"As a LAIC participant, I helped with the following: a mother gaining closure by securing medical documents from the LA coroner’s office, small businesses completing a trademark application and negotiating a commercial lease, and an organization securing non‐profit status so that it could begin offering braille transcription services to skid row residents. My exposure to new legal areas and the skills I have developed have been an invaluable learning experience. Participation in LAIC has helped me, and everyone in the cohort, develop our entrepreneurial mindset with respect to providing legal services. Finally, I have a much better understanding of the shortfall in legal services available to meet the needs of low to moderate income people in the LA community and the importance of the attorneys and institutions working to address this gap. I will continue be involved in helping to meet this gap." (2017)