Fledgling Legal Eagles: Law Schools Prepare Graduates to Run Their Own Firms

By Knoernschild, Kaelynn | THE JOURNAL RECORD, July 8, 2015 | Go to article overview

Fledgling Legal Eagles: Law Schools Prepare Graduates to Run Their Own Firms


Knoernschild, Kaelynn, THE JOURNAL RECORD


TULSA - Law school graduates who want to start their own firms aren't ready to manage their businesses, but some schools are now implementing programs to better prepare them.

More graduates are going against the customary practice of working for an established law firm, said Elizabeth McCormick, associate dean for experiential learning at the University of Tulsa College of Law.

"Traditionally, graduates were ending up in established firms, but that's changing more and more," McCormick said.

As the legal market changes and more students wish to start their own firms, the TU College of Law and other law schools nationwide are exploring new programs to assist graduates.

In 2007, the City University of New York started its Incubator for Justice, which provides training and mentoring for new attorneys as they begin their own practices. The attorneys stay in the incubator for about 18 months.

Schools across the nation have used CUNY's model for their own programs.

McCormick said the TU College of Law is exploring the possibility of starting an incubator to assist its graduates in establishing their own firms.

"TU continues to explore the viability of incubators and we support the goals that incubators would serve to accomplish," she said.

Law schools support attorneys in the program in many different ways, including providing office space or stipends, McCormick said. Some law schools also offer loan repayment services and malpractice insurance, she said.

"There is this relatively new phenomenon geared toward students getting hands-on training in the business of law," she said.

McCormick said students need to understand how a business model works in order to be successful and an incubator would provide an additional avenue of support for new attorneys.

"Anything that law schools can do to prepare students for the realities of the current business climate is great," said Patrick Fuller, a former legal consultant.

Fuller said law schools are not teaching students about significant changes within the business side of law. …

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