SANTA ANA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) announced that Concord Law School at Kaplan University (Concord) has been selected to join its Lawyer Entrepreneur Assistance Program (LEAP), an “incubator” aimed at helping recent law school graduates open a new practice. Established in 1998 as the nation’s first fully online law school, Concord becomes the first online law school to join a legal incubator program in the country.
“Our mission to expand access to legal services aligns well with Concord Law School, so it was an easy choice for us to partner them,” says Bill Tanner, Directing Attorney of LASOC. “We’re excited to extend our incubator program to even more graduates, providing them with new opportunities to successfully start and grow their practices while expanding affordable legal services to those who need it the most.”
Concord is the first and only online law school to participate in LASOC’s LEAP initiative, which includes four traditional brick and mortar ABA law school partners in Orange County. LEAP is designed to give participants practical hands-on experience as well as financial and technical support to launch their own solo practice and build their client base. In exchange, participating graduates give back by contributing to the society’s pro bono work in the community. All members are expected to provide 100 hours of pro bono work over the course of the year.
Although Concord’s administrative offices are in Los Angeles, because Concord students and graduates are not tied to a physical location, LEAP and Concord will use technology to provide remote access to resources previously only available to onsite participants. Accepted graduates will have access to a variety of resources, including live and taped video training sessions that cover different practice areas, and mentoring focused on the business of building a law practice.
Participants may connect with the program’s network of experienced lawyers and judges during weekly case review meetings, which will be conducted via video or phone conferencing. The incubator also provides discounted work space and malpractice insurance, and allows members to access the society’s law library and brief bank. Participants also join LASOC’s lawyer referral service, which connect those who do not qualify for free legal services with lawyers who are willing to offer discounted services for modest means clients.
“The legal incubator movement is a real game changer for the legal profession. It helps newly minted graduates put their hard earned legal education to work. It also provides an invaluable service to low- and modest-means clients needing legal support, which is very near and dear to our mission,” says Martin Pritikin, Dean of Concord Law School. “What is most exciting about an online law school joining an incubator program is that we can use technology to break down barriers not only in terms of cost, but geography as well. If we can help link up lawyers and clients who are not in the same location, this is yet another way for us to give underserved people access to justice.”
Graduates who are interested in participating in LEAP must have passed the California bar exam and must submit a business proposal for consideration. From Concord, up to ten graduates may be accepted into the program each year, and the first enrollment period will likely open in May 2017.
About Legal Incubators:
There are about 60 incubators across the country, the first of which was started at City University of New York in 2007, according to the American Bar Association.
About Legal Aid Society of Orange County
Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) is a non-profit organization that provides free civil legal services to seniors, low-income individuals to promote equal access to the justice system throughout Orange County and southeast Los Angeles. For over 59 years, LASOC has provided essential services across various practice areas to promote equal access to the justice system through advocacy, legal counseling, innovative self-help services, community education, and legal representation.
About Concord Law School
Concord Law School is the nation's first fully online law school. Since opening its virtual doors in 1998, Concord has educated more than 2,200 graduates who have earned their Juris Doctor (JD) or Executive Juris DoctorSM (EJD) degree. Concord Law School is part of Kaplan University, which is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. Kaplan University is part of Kaplan Higher Education LLC and Kaplan, Inc., which serves over one million students globally each year through its array of higher education, test preparation, professional education, English-language training and university preparation to individuals, institutions, and businesses. Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC) and its largest division. For more information, please visit www.kaplan.com.