June 25, 2013
A recent U.S. News & World Report article spotlights CUNY School of Law’s Incubator for Justice program, the first of its kind in the nation. Since 2007, possibly a dozen law schools have started similar programs. “A number of people come to law school saying ‘My goal is to set up a community practice,'” says Lisa Reiner (’90), interim director of CLRN. “It’s very hard to just do it on a dime with no community and no support. So that’s an attractive option for people who have that idea and they want to do that. It’s also attractive as the landscape changes as far as what options there are for lawyers to practice. The option of practicing on one’s own becomes more attractive to people.”
CUNY’s Incubator for Justice is part of the Community Legal Resource Network (CLRN) at CUNY Law. CLRN supports alumni as they set up and run solo or small-group practices devoted to serving low-income communities that lack access to legal representation. The Incubator trains alumni in basic business issues such as billing, record-keeping, technology, bookkeeping and taxes that are critical to launching a successful solo practice. At the same time, it facilitates subject-based training in immigration law, labor and employment, and other topics that will arise continually as these attorneys build their practices.