July 21, 2016
Legal Incubators Benefit Community
by Jacob Levine, Esq., Columbus Bar inc
Incubator programs are relatively new to the legal profession. Columbus Bar inc was the first of its kind in the country five years ago.
Today, there are over 60 incubator programs across the country, with another five programs set to open by the end of 2016. The growth of incubators nationally has created the need for an annual conference where administrators and participants share ideas on improving incubators and increasing the positive impact on their respective communities.
Columbus Bar inc is intended to accelerate the successful development of new lawyers in an environment that provides an array of business support resources, including education, mentoring and client development. Participants get an office, equipment, access to attorney mentors, training on a variety of law practice management issues and specially designed networking opportunities to help build a successful practice based on sound business principles.
Legal incubators serve two important functions in today’s legal market – protecting clients and developing skilled lawyers in our bar. Participants have access to a support network of qualified professionals to guide them as they develop counseling and advocacy skills and build their practice. Many lawyering skills simply cannot be learned from a book and can only be learned from actual practice. Incubators offers a relatively safe environment for doing that.
Columbus Bar volunteers teach participants best practices in everything from client communications to marketing to billing to time management. In exchange, inc participants agree to accept at least one pro bono case during their term, creating an additional source for serving the unmet legal needs in central Ohio.
Successful programs across the country are collaborating with members of the community by helping small businesses and start-ups access legal services at an affordable rate. Incubator programs support access to justice initiatives by working with underserved members of the community.
Current incubator participant, Jacob Levine, praises the program’s mentors. “Rick Colby, a mentor at the incubator program, has been pivotal to my success by developing the soft skills that are overlooked in law school.”
Over the last five years, over 30 lawyers have participated in Columbus Bar inc, with countless donors, volunteer mentors and educators offering their support to help the community. The Columbus Bar recently received national recognition from the American Society for Association Executives for its program, which acknowledged the CBA for helping “to make the world a better place and being a positive influence in the everyday lives of our community.”