Low Bono and Solo Initiative
The Low Bono and Solo Initiative aims to assist its alumni in starting and sustaining 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 email@example.com or 206-398-4168.
The Low Bono Incubator Program
We have a justice gap in our society: a growing number of people who need legal services cannot afford to hire an attorney but they make too much money to qualify for free legal aid. The School of Law seeks to fill that gap by encouraging its graduates to build low bono practices which serve the moderate means client community by offering high-quality legal services for reduced fees. Run by Access to Justice Institute, the Low Bono Incubator Program incubates a number of alumni's new low bono practices for one year - providing support like mentors, stipends, and training.
Through the program, each Incubator Attorney can benefit from:
- A monetary stipend to help cover initial costs of launching a practice.
- Use of office space in Seattle for the purposes of meetings, limited work, and an address for mail and service.
- A mentor's support and guidance in running a law practice.
- Support and guidance from mentors with experience in particular areas of law.
- Peer support through bi-monthly meetings with the law practice mentor.
- Monthly workshops geared to provide hands-on training to launch and build a low bono practice.
- All the alumni privileges of the Law Library plus a free borrowing membership.
- One year free subscription to Clio Law Practice and Case Management Software.
Applicants for the Low Bono Incubator Program must be a graduate of Seattle University School of Law; be licensed to practice in Washington State and be in good standing; have malpractice insurance or planning to get malpractice insurance; have not yet started their low bono practice or are within one year of starting their practice; and be committed to having at least 60% of their clientele be people of moderate means. Please contact Diana Singleton at firstname.lastname@example.org for updated information on application details for the 2016 Incubator cohort.
Through a collaboration between the Access to Justice Institute, the Center for Professional Development, and the Office of Alumni Relations, the Initiative offers a series of CLEs and workshops geared to support lawyers 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 and takes place on most third Tuesdays of the month from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the law school in Room 109.
2015 Low Bono Brown Bag Series ScheduleGetting Paid: Money Matters in a Low Bono Practice
Tuesday, September 22, noon - 1:30 p.m.
Seattle University School of Law, Sullivan Hall, John Dore Courtroom
Free. 1.5 CLE credits pending. RSVP here.
Even though low bono attorneys aren't in the business for the big bucks, they still need to get paid. Because their profit margins are tight, it is crucial that their low bono clients have payment options that result in a high rate of payment. Pete Roberts, practice management expert, will walk us through the pros and cons of various billing models applicable to serving moderate means clients and describe situations when it is best to use flat fee vs. hourly billing. Following Pete is a panel of three solo practitioners who will share about best practices when it comes to getting paid. The panel includes Yasmeen Abdullah, Mikel Carlson, and Zeshan Khan.
Tuesday, October 20, noon - 1:30 p.m.
Seattle University School of Law, Sullivan Hall, Room 109
Free. 1.5 CLE ethics credits pending. RSVP here.
Crucial to running a solid law practice is making sure you conduct business in a professional and ethical manner. WSBA's Professional Responsibility Counsel, Jeanne Marie Clavere '87, will walk you through the role of ethics and professionalism in working with clients, deciding to take a case, managing client expectations, and deciding the scope of service. Ethics rules could create pitfalls if an attorney is not proactive in taking preventative measures. These pitfalls and how to avoid to them will be discussed in the context of client communications, client intake forms, and methods of documentation of changes, meetings, and progress.
RSVP here.Other training resources offered by the larger legal community include:
- WSBA Law Office Management Assistance Program
- WSBA New Lawyer Education
- McKinley Irwin Family Law CLE Series
- View a list of past trainings here and recordings of past trainings here.
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:WSBA Low Bono Section
This group brings together attorneys and professionals dedicated to providing low bono legal services to clients of moderate means for the purpose of sharing resources and supporting each other.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.
Past Low Bono and Solo Initiative OfferingsSeattle 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.Lexis Nexis 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