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Many individuals are motivated to become lawyers to fill a need, solve a problem or represent an underserved population. Those are many of the same qualities that define successful entrepreneurs, so it is no surprise there is a sizable portion of the legal community that combines those paths and embarks on the entrepreneurial venture of starting their own practice.
Law graduates opening solo practices is a growing trend nationwide. According to the National Association for Law Placement, 5% of 2012 grads began their careers in solo practice. Cleveland-Marshall College of Law saw 14.1% of its 2012 graduates embrace their entrepreneurial spirit and open their own practice.
Cleveland-Marshall has taken action to provide support for recent graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in solo practice, with its innovative, new solo practice incubator.
This incubator, the first law school-based incubator in Ohio, and one of approximately 10 throughout the United States, provides low-cost resources, including office space, conference rooms and a reception area, for recent graduates looking to start their career as legal entrepreneurs. Through a partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, reduced-cost health and liability insurance and vendor discounts will also be available to the practitioners.
Beyond the monetary advantages, occupants will benefit from substantial guidance in the practical management of their firms and the handling of their cases. The school’s Solo Practice Advisory Council will host frequent presentations and workshops by local lawyers, service providers and others. The incubator will also have a designated coordinator who will be available as a resource for guidance and troubleshooting, and will hold regular workshops to discuss management and related matters.
“When you are on your own in solo practice, you start out doing everything and wearing all the hats,” said Daniel J. Myers ’11, a solo practitioner as founder of Myers Law LLC. “Not only are you developing your lawyering skills, you are learning to run a business just like any other small business. It makes sense to work with other solo practitioners going through a similar experience, and to share the time and costs involved with business resources and overhead. You want as much time as possible available to work on developing your practice.”
While tenants’ success is the primary goal, the incubator is also expected to make positive contributions to Cleveland-Marshall students and the larger community. This incubator is just a part of the school’s rapid move toward practice-oriented, experience-based training. As the incubator develops, ways to integrate current law students into its operations will be explored, including involving students in clinic work and externship programs.
Visit the Career Planning Solo Incubator page.