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About Us & Our Mission

 

Community Law Practice Incubator

Under the direction of 2016 BASF President Michael Tubach, The Bar Association of San Francisco created the Community Law Practice Incubator (CLPI) in partnership with its Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) and Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) to serve the professional needs of attorneys interested in developing a solo practice, and expand access to affordable legal services for low income persons. 

CLPI participants are California licensed attorneys who possess an entrepreneurial interest to open a small or solo practice serving the local community including low and modest means persons (a community practice) and currently may have other work and sources of income to sustain their participation in CLPI.

The CLPI provides participants with training and supervision in four areas of practice in which the public’s unmet need for representation remains high: Family Law, Landlord-Tenant issues, Immigration and Bankruptcy.  Participants must enroll in the incubator program for six months, but may continue for a maximum of one year.

Questions about CLPI? Contact the CLPI Coordinator Hamid Yazdan Panah at hpanah@sfbar.org.

The mission of the CLPI is to develop a diverse set of skilled solo/small firm practitioners who will weave a social justice mission to serve the public into the fabric of their new law practice.

Learn more about CLPI, including

Benefits of Participation

The CLPI program provides participants with a host of benefits, including mentorship, case referrals, access to CLE events, as well as subscriptions to case management and legal research software.

Participants are provided malpractice coverage for pro bono representation provided to JDC clients. Participants must maintain malpractice coverage to represent low-fee clients referred through LRIS, with hourly fees not to exceed $75 per hour for clients receiving low fee services. In addition, participants will have direct access to programming available through BASF’s Continuing Legal Education department, Barristers Club for new attorneys, BASF and Barristers’ areas of practice sections, and networking events.

Find out more about the program requirements in order to understand if you qualify. 

Participants pay a monthly participation fee of $300.00 and receive the following CLPI benefits for free:

  • Intensive family law, eviction defense, and bankruptcy legal training
  • Client representation including court appearances
  • Referrals to represent paying clients
  • One-on-one mentoring and supervision
  • Shared work space (BASF’s Spacebar member lounge)
  • Telephone, copier, fax and Internet access (WiFi)
  • Conference room space
  • Law practice management boot camp and tool kit
  • CLIO case management system (while participating in the CLPI)
  • Lexis/Nexis electronic research (while participating in the CLPI)
  • BASF Continuing Legal Education passport for free admission to certain programs (while participating in the CLPI)
  • One year membership in LRIS (while participating in the CLPI)
  • One year membership in BASF, which includes membership in the Barristers Club (while participating in the CLPI)
  • Opportunities to network and grow your practice

 

Participant Requirements

CLPI participants are required to pay a monthly fee of $300 while in the program. Participants are also required to be members of the California State Bar in good standing, and to possess malpractice insurance for their solo practice. To ensure the success of its participants, the CPLI has identified the following requirements for participant engagement:

  • Attend all sessions of the CLPI boot camp and substantive subject matter trainings
  • Attend (in person or by telephone) all roundtable discussions
  • Handle a minimum of four pro bono cases through JDC
  • Handle a minimum of five or more low-fee clients through LRIS
  • Continue representation of CPLI-referred clients after leaving the CLPI
  • Maintain status as a member of the State Bar of California in good standing
  • Notify the CLPI Coordinator immediately of any state bar investigation or disciplinary action
  • Comply with all rules of professional responsibility and maintain high ethical standards
  • Maintain professional courtesy, responsiveness and civility with clients, colleagues and the courts
  • Participate fully in all feedback and evaluation requested, including statistical and financial information if needed
  • Pay the monthly incubator participant fee

 

Resources

CLPI seeks to provide participants with a variety of resources to succeed. The majority of these resources can be divided into the following categories.

  1. Guidance, legal training, and support

  2. Referrals and mentorship

  3. Office space and tools

  4. Membership in BASF

 

Solo and Small Firm Toolkit - for and by San Francisco solo and small firm attorneys

View the toolkit.

Importance of a Business Plan

A business plan is vital to the success of a new solo practice. 

Have you made a business plan?  You should consider the following (and more) when you are writing the business plan for your new solo practice:

  • What is my monthly budget?

  • What is an effective marketing plan?

    • How will people know that I’m out there?

    • Why will they choose me?

  • Research cost and location of office space
  • What areas of practice am I interested in?

  • Whom will I serve? (Example: moderate to low income clients)

  • What is the viability of my new solo practice?

Examples of actual business plans can be found at: http://www.ceoclubs.org/section/resources.php

 

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