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 offer 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, 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

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. The first cohort of the Incubator Program started in January 2014. Get to know the new 2015 cohort.

Through the program, each Incubator Attorney can benefit from:

  • A $3,000 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.

Who is eligible to apply for the Low Bono Incubator Program?

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.
  • Committed to having at least 60% of their clientele be people of moderate means.

How do I apply?

Please check back for updated information about the next round of incubator applications.

Questions?

Please contact Diana Singleton, Director of Access to Justice Institute, at singletd@seattleu.edu or 206-398-4168.

Trainings

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 Schedule

JUNE: Handling Your Initial Client Meeting
Carrie Kovacevich '08, solo practitioner with Lakeview Law, and Charity Anastasio ‘07, Practice Management Advisor with WSBA's Law Office Management Assistance Program
Tuesday, June 16
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Seattle University Administration Building, Room 221
Free. 1.5 CLE credits pending. Click here to register.

Choosing your clients and establishing a relationship with them are one of the most important parts of your practice. Your initial client meeting will help you determine whether the client and her case is a good fit for you and your practice. Carrie Kovacevich '08, solo practitioner with Lakeview Law, and Charity Anastasio ‘07, Practice Management Advisor with WSBA's Law Office Management Assistance Program, will cover the basics of your first client interview including setting out a roadmap, discussing fee agreements, building rapport, and setting communication expectations. We will view a WSBA-produced webinar featuring Ms. Kovacevich and Ms. Anastasio which will be followed by live discussion led by Ms. Kovacevich. 1.5 CLE live credits pending.

JULY: Managing the Client Relationship
Jeff Liang '07, Ling & Liang PLLC
Tuesday, July 21
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Sullivan Hall, Room 110
Free. 1.5 CLE credits pending. Click here to register.

Project management is a skill that often thought of as being applied in large corporations and organizations but what about in a solo or small firm? Principles of project management - giving estimates, staging the work, setting out a budget, managing client expectations - can be applied to a law firm, no matter what size. Jeff Liang of Ling and Liang PLLC will walk you through effective project management and how to successfully manage your client relationships. Join us for this engaging CLE intended to assist you with building a successful law firm.

SEPTEMBER 15: Different Billable Models with Peter Roberts – RSVP here.

OCTOBER 20: Ethics and Professionalism with Jeanne Marie Clavere – RSVP here.

NOVEMBER 17: Google-liscious Technology with Charity Anastasio – RSVP here.

Other training resources offered by the larger legal community include:

View a list of past trainings here and recordings of past trainings here.

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:

  • 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.

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.

Sullivan Hall

Contact

Diana Singleton
Director
Phone: 206.398.4168
E-mail: singletd@seattleu.edu

View videos of past trainings