In today’s tight job market, even lawyers are having a difficult time finding work. Consequently, a growing number of lawyers are starting solo practices− a trend the Columbus Bar Association is addressing with its new incubator program, Columbus Bar inc.
Launched in April, Columbus Bar inc is designed to offer new lawyers valuable experience and ongoing education that will help them build their professional careers, develop sound business management skills, and maintain high ethical standards.
The attorneys that have been accepted into Columbus Bar inc will receive training on subjects such as client intake, billing practices, law office management, law firm marketing, case management, court rules, and discovery, as well as on-site mentoring from CBA members.
“We have a total of eight spots right now,” says Jill Snitcher McQuain, assistant executive director of the CBA. “As a pilot program, we started slowly, bringing in only six “inclings” and reserving two spots for the most recent bar admission applicants. Those two remaining spots should be filled by the end of June.”
Program applicants must:
- • be graduates of an Ohio law school;
- • be admitted to practice law in Ohio in the last two years;
- • not be employed full-time as an attorney;
- • be a member of the CBA when they apply;
- • be willing to commit to Columbus Bar inc for one year;
- • and have the financial ability to pay a monthly $350 fee, which covers some of the charges for the telecommunications, office equipment, office space, and general office support that will be provided to each attorney at a reduced rate.
Applicants also have to submit a business plan, a resume, three professional references, and undergo a background check. Eligible applicants are screened by a committee and invited to an informal mixer to give committee members an opportunity to meet them and better evaluate their interest and qualifications.
Program participants are required to provide pro bono legal services in exchange for the support they receive through the program.
Columbus Bar inc would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors and volunteers, Snitcher McQuain says.
“Most of the services provided have been fully supported through donations and volunteer resources,” she adds. “We simply could not have done it without our supporters. It is our hope that the program will continue to evolve and grow beyond a pilot.”
The Columbus Bar inc offices are located on the tenth floor of the CBA building at 175 S. Third St.
For more information about Columbus Bar inc, visit CBALaw.org/inc.