For the Alumni Community

The Low Bono and Solo Initiative

Committed to its mission to educate outstanding lawyers to be leaders for a just and humane world, the School of Law is pleased to launch the Low Bono and Solo Initiative which aims to assist its alumni in starting their own solo practices or small firms, including those setting up their own practices with the intent of serving the moderate means client community. 

Through the Initiative, alumni can benefit from a series of CLEs and workshops and the Low Bono Incubator Program.  For those interested in taking advantage of opportunities the initiative offers, please also check out the resources and ways to connect with the community below. For more information about the Low Bono and Solo Initiative, please contact Diana Singleton, Director at the Access to Justice Institute, at singletd@seattleu.edu or 206-398-4168. 

The Low Bono Incubator Program

The Low Bono Incubator Program, a part of the Low Bono and Solo Initiative, provides training, guidance, and resources to help new lawyers launch and maintain a solo or small firm practice designed to serve the moderate means client community. Through the Incubator Program, four new alumni will have the opportunity to "incubate" a law practice for 12 months for the purposes of creating a sustainable, successful low bono law practice.   A low bono practice is built around serving clients of moderate means by offering reduced-fee legal services.  

Through the program, each Incubator Attorney will benefit from the following: 

    • A small stipend of $3000 to help cover costs of living and initial costs of launching a practice  
incubator

From left: Incubator attorneys Kate Rich, Eleanor Doermann, Dean Annette Clark, mentor Stan Perkins '85, attorneys Olga Owens and Bret Sachter. (Photo by Marcus Donner.)

  • Limited use of free office space at a downtown location for the purposes of meetings, work, and an address for mail and service
  • Mentorship in managing a legal practice and in your area(s) of practice 

The Access to Justice Institute is pleased to announce the 2014 inaugural class of Incubator Attorneys:

  • Eleanor Doermann
  • Olga Owens
  • Katherine Rich
  • Brett Sachter

TRAININGS

Through a collaboration between the Access to Justice Institute and the Center for Professional Development, the Initiative offers a series of CLEs and workshops geared to provide hands-on training to launch and build a practice. 

2014 Solo and Low Bono Initiative Training Schedule

The Solo and Low Bono Initiative is proud to present our spring and summer brown- bag series. This series is meant to support alumni who are in the beginning stages of launching or running a solo practice, with an emphasis on best practices for new low bono practitioners. The series is free to all Seattle University School of Law students and alumni!

Brown bag sessions will be hosted by the Law Offices of Dean Standish Perkins and Associates, located at 1800 9th Ave, Ste. 1630, Seattle, WA 98101. Please note, there is no CLE credit available for brown-bag sessions.

RSVP Requested.

FEBRUARY: Ten Mistakes New Lawyers Make (and Should Avoid)
RSVP online
Thursday, February 28, 2014
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Alumni are invited to join us for this brown-bag discussion about common mistakes new lawyers make and how to avoid them. Ethics, including confidentiality, privilege, and work-product will be covered, as well as how to find the best insurance for your practice!

MARCH: ~CANCELED AND COMBINED WITH APRIL'S SESSION~
Conflicts and Client Intake, Screening, and Engagement

APRIL: "Conflict Checks, Client Intake, Screening, Engagement" and "Business Basics, Budgeting, and Finances"
RSVP online
Monday, April 28, 2014
12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Please note that this session combines March and April's sessions into one workshop.

Conflict Checks, Client Intake, Screening, Engagement: How do you pick the right case? And once you do, how do check for conflicts? What does an engagement letter look like and how do you write one? Alumni are invited to join us for this brown-bag discussion about best practices in client intake, screening, and case selection, as well as how to write a good engagement letter.

Business Basics, Budgeting, and Finances: Alumni are invited to join us for this brown-bag discussion about the basics of business, budgeting, and finances. Come and learn about charging a fair fee, how to manage business and personal budgets, best practices in bookkeeping, and managing your IOLTA account.

MAY: Marketing and Business Development
RSVP online
Thursday, May 23, 2014
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Every solo practitioner has to figure out how to best market their practice, develop their business, and get client referrals. Alumni are invited to join us for this important brown-bag discussion about marketing and business development!

JUNE: Legal Writing Refresher
RSVP online
Thursday, June 27, 2014
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Alumni are invited to join us for this brown-bag workshop reviewing best practices for brief writing and tips on how to do quality, low-cost research effectively and efficiently.

JULY: Spirit of Entrepreneurship
RSVP online
Thursday, July 25, 2014
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Alumni are invited to join us for this brown-bag discussion about what does it takes to be a successful businessperson.

AUGUST: Getting Relief for Your Client
RSVP online
Thursday, August 22, 2014
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Unsure how to write a demand letter? Think you could use some help figuring out how to counsel a client on settlements? Alumni are invited to join us for this brown-bag discussion about how to get relief for your client!

SEPTEMBER: TBD
OCTOBER: TBD
NOVEMBER: TBD
DECEMBER: TBD

To view video recordings of Low Bono and Solo Initiative trainings from Fall 2013, click here.

Hang Your Own Shingle - 9/20/13
Law Practice as a Business:  Building Your Online Presence - 10/9/13
Law Practice as a Business:  Marketing Your Practice 101 - 10/23/13
Money Matters - 11/6/13
Tech, Set Go - 11/13/13
Client Communications - 11/20/13

Other training resources offered by the larger legal community include:

COMMUNITY

The Low Bono and Solo Initiative aims to connect new attorneys aspiring to set up solo and small firm practices to others in the same community.  The following are ways to connect with the solo and small firm community, including ones focused on serving moderate mean client communities:

  • WA Low Bono Professionals Group:  This group brings together  attorneys dedicated to providing low bono legal services to clients of moderate means for the purpose of sharing discussions and resources. This group is in the process of forming a WSBA low bono bar section. 
  • WSBA Moderate Means Program:  Through a partnership between WSBA and the three WA law schools, law students perform intakes of moderate income clients and make referrals to attorneys willing to charge reduce fees.  Click here to sign up to be a Moderate Means Program attorney and receive referrals.  Click here for information on how to get involved with the program as a law student. 
  • WSBA Solo and Small Firm Section:  This section helps solo and small practice attorneys to ethically conduct a profitable, satisfying business by acting as a clearinghouse for qualified law practice management and technology information.
  • KCBA Solo and Small Firm Section:  This section provides opportunities to discuss common problems and solutions, and receive benefits usually associated with large firms such as immediate access to fellow associates for referrals and advice through an active E-mail listserv, a Web site to provide marketing opportunities, and the use of high end equipment by sharing resources. Monthly meetings feature speakers on issues relevant to the solo or small firm including practice management, technology and marketing.
  • WSBA Substantive Law-based Sections, KCBA Sections and Specialty Bar Associations:  The sections and associations offer members a collective voice and the opportunity to become better acquainted with other bar members who practice in similar areas of the law.

RESOURCES


The Low Bono and Solo Initiative aims to connect our alumni who are solo or small firm practitioners to resources that will help advance their practices. 

  • Seattle University School of Law Library:  All alumni have lifetime library privileges. Graduates enjoy complete access not only to the print collection, but also to our extensive microfilm and government document collections.
  • Seattle University Audit Courses:  Our law graduates may audit up to a total of six credit hours of law school classes free of charge. Course enrollment is on a space-available basis and subject to instructor's approval. In some cases the Washington State Bar Association grants CLE credits for such enrollment.
  • Lexus Nexus Discount for New Attorneys:  Recent law graduates who are starting their own practice are eligible to access Lexis.com/Lexis Advance subscriptions for $50/month for up to 18 months.  Contact the Lexis representative for more information.
  • WSBA:  The WA State Bar Association offers a number of resources including CaseMaker, a free online research library, the LOMAP's Lending Library, and the Ethics Line.
  • Vizibid: This is a lawyers-only web community that pools the disparate knowledge and document resources of solo and small practice attorneys. You can find and share model legal documents, and also share ratings and comments about the documents for other lawyers in the community to see.

Details from "Triumvirate," by William Morris Robinson