We are so excited that the Portland Press Herald did a great article about our new project! You can read it here.
I wish I could take credit for this incubator idea, but in fact there are dozens of legal incubators around the country who have identified two big needs: One, the #justicegap between people who qualify for legal aid and those who can actually afford lawyers. In between is a large group of people who do not have effective access to our legal system. Two, many new lawyers come out of law school without the traditional associate jobs available, and without the kind of practical business training they need to hang out their own shingle and make it work. Put those two together, and viola! a legal incubator! Mainers of modest means can hire a lawyer at a fraction of going rates, and new lawyers get a supported place to learn business skills, marketing, client management, billing and collecting, and the newest technology to deliver legal services to people who need it.
To call it a shoestring budget would be kind. While the model is designed to be self sustaining through client fees, we have to start somewhere, and that somewhere may involve ramen dinners. UMaine was not prepared to take on financial support for this project considering all the changes that have been going on there. It was a non-starter to compete with Pine Tree for funding. So we took out a small loan and raised money informally through the legal community to buy computers and software licenses, paper, file folders and pens. And so far so good. But if you want to help us out (next goal: a high speed printer/copier/scanner machine) please do feel free and click here.