With its Solo Practice Incubator, Cleveland State University College of Law has helped launch its recent graduates each year in their own new solo law firms.
The Incubator contributes to its tenants' success in several concrete ways. It provides direct support by way of discounted rent, business services, and amenities; the input and guidance of prominent Cleveland practitioners and CSU College of Law's own faculty; the comradeship of their fellow graduate-entrepreneurs; and a start to their careers within the confines of their own alma mater.
The Incubator takes its tenants' success as its primary goal, but it will also make serious contributions to the larger community. It was among CSU College of Law's first steps in the evolution of legal education toward more practice-oriented, experience-based training. It also encourages new models of legal services delivery, as traditional models have proven inflexible in changing economic times and have made access to justice expensive and unavailable to many Americans.
The Incubator houses tenants in state-of-the-art, newly constructed office space, to which they have 24-hour secure access. Each tenant establishes his or her own private law practice, and the practices are legally distinct from one another. Tenants are free to serve any client population they choose and engage in any area of law practice. They will develop their practices as they would under other circumstances, under their own direction and at their own expense.
Rent is free for the first six months and very modest thereafter. Basic office amenities are provided. Minimum term is six months; maximum term is two years.
CSU College of Law anticipates providing one multi-function business machine at shared expense to the tenants, free access to CSU’s secure wireless internet network, secure filing space, and such other business amenities as are feasible and commonly available in the Cleveland office rental market. Working closely with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, CSU College of Law has arranged to provide tenants access to a suite of discount business services, including professional liability insurance, health and life insurance, marketing materials, financial services, and more. Tenants will also enjoy plentiful, free continuing legal education opportunities and should be able
to fulfill all their CLE obligations at no cost.
Tenants will receive substantial guidance in the practical management of their firms and the handling of their cases. They will be assisted by a Coordinator, who will be an established solo or small firm practitioner headquarted in Cleveland. The Coordinator will be available to them as needed for guidance and trouble-shooting, and will hold regular workshops to discuss practical management and pending matters. The Coordinator will be compensated by Cleveland State University as an independent consultant, and will be a member of the Incubator’s governing Advisory Council. Tenants will also benefit from frequent presentations and workshops by local businesses, service providers and others on matters of concern to them, like marketing, financial and retirement planning, and insurance. And they will be able to workshop pending client matters with leading Cleveland attorneys in confidential, closed-door sessions within the Incubator.
A broader goal is that the Incubator serve as a step in CSU College of Law’s contribution to the evolution of legal education. It will serve an educational role for the tenants themselves, but it will also be part of current law students’ own experience. The Incubator will be prominently, physically integrated into the law school’s own facility, and will be built with some transparent walls so that students studying in the Law Library will have a first-hand view, throughout each day, of living law firms in operation. As the Incubator develops, it will explore other ways to integrate current law students into its operations, as by involving students in clinic work through work-study, externship, or other programs.
SOLO INCUBATOR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS:
Professor Pamela Daiker-Middaugh, Cleveland State University College of Law
Sheronda Dobson, Law Offices of Sheronda D. Dobson
Tom Haren, Seeley, Savidge, Ebert & Gourash Co., LPA
Ashley Jones, Ashley L. Jones, Esq., Attorney at Law
Prof. Stephen R. Lazarus, Cleveland State University College of Law
Ted Mann, Theodore M. Mann, Jr. Law Office
Daniel Myers, Myers Law LLC
Irene Rennillo, Stephanoff Rennillo, LLC
Alan Rosca, Peiffer Rosca Abdullah Carr & Kane
Beth Thomarios, Elizabeth A. Thomarios, Esq. LLC
Nathan Wills, Wills Law Firm, LLC
Now Accepting Applications!
The Solo Practice Incubator is now accepting applications for new attorneys! Download a copy of the application.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. If you are interested in learning more, contact Incubator Director Professor Pamela Daiker-Middaugh at 216.687.6878; firstname.lastname@example.org