UB, Maryland Carey law schools announce legal incubator program

A new program designed to provide in-depth legal and business training to recent law school graduates has been announced by University of Baltimore School of Law Dean Ronald Weich, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law Dean Donald B. Tobin and the Maryland State Bar Association.

The incubator was the focus of a July 27 article in The National Law Journal, “Schools Collaborate on Baltimore Legal Practice Incubator.” (You need a subscription to read the full story.) The Baltimore Business Journal and the JD Journal also featured stories about the Baltimore incubator.

The legal incubator program, which is to begin in the coming academic year, will provide low-cost and in some cases free, or pro bono, legal services to Maryland clients while helping young lawyers build robust legal skills, learn sound management practices and sharpen their ethical legal and business judgment.

“We are thrilled to partner with the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and the Maryland State Bar Association to establish a legal incubator program in our state,” Weich said. “In this new program, recent law graduates will refine their skills and build their practices under the guidance of experienced lawyers. This partnership will be a big advantage for new UB and UM graduates and a big win for the Maryland legal community.”

Said Tobin: “The incubator offers a great opportunity for recent graduates to gain experience while providing affordable legal services to people in the state. The incubator partnership was the result of two years of hard work by the MSBA’s Special Committee on Law School Graduates and would not have come to fruition without strong support by the Maryland State Bar Foundation.”

Initially, the law schools will identify a total of five or six recent law graduates who have passed the Maryland state bar examination. Each lawyer will develop a business plan and provide legal services during his or her 12 to 18 months in the program. The new lawyers will not be employees of either law school, nor will they be affiliated with each other.

Incubator attorneys will receive office space, equipment, and phone and Internet service from the UB and Maryland Carey law schools, and malpractice insurance and bar membership from the MSBA. In addition, they will have free access to Westlaw, which donates its services to beginning attorneys in incubator programs across the country.

The new lawyers will be supervised by an experienced attorney from Civil Justice, who will conduct weekly case reviews and split his or her time between the two law schools, where the incubator participants will be based. The salary of the supervising attorney, who is to work part time, will be covered by a grant from the Maryland Bar Foundation.

The incubator lawyers, who will also have access to other legal mentors, will be trained in substantive law, advanced advocacy skills, law-practice management and business development. The new lawyers must agree to donate at least 10 percent of their billable hours to low-cost clients and to take at least one pro-bono case during their time in the incubator. They will be compensated by the fees they collect.

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