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Dan Lear

The “legal incubator” movement has gained significant attention in the last few years. Started in 2007 by Fred Rooney at City University of New York School of Law, legal incubators are law firm development programs through which solo and small law firms are established. Most incubator participants are recent law school graduates, though not that’s a requirement. The goal of incubator programs is to provide participants with sufficient resources and mentorship to successfully launch and maintain solo and small firms.

While law firm incubators began before the great recession, they have received increasing attention in light of the challenging employment outlook for recent law graduates and young attorneys in the last eight years. Until 2010, there were probably only about half a dozen legal incubators, and most of these were housed in law schools. In the last five years, the movement has grown significantly. The number of incubators has grown to around 30 and their homes have expanded beyond law schools to bar foundations and even private companies.

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