Thoughts on the Special Value of the Upcoming Conference on Enhancing Social Justice Through The Development of Incubators & Residency Programs

This post is much later than it should be, but I think it is still important to draw attention to the upcoming Conference on Enhancing Social Justice Through The Development of Incubators & Residency Programs on Thursday, April 3, 2014 and Friday, April 4, 2014, at Touro Law School.

Among the impressive speakers will be Fred Rooney, Judge Fern Fisher (NY), Bonnie Hough, Luis Herrrara, Richard Granat, Bill Tanner, Will Hornsby, Justice Daniel Taubman (CO) and Justine Goodwin Liu (CA).

The conference is important because it reminds us that incubators can be, and must be, much more than an avenue to get young lawyers better prepared for the job market.

Rather, we must see incubators as, and direct our investments in the direction of, an opportunity to recast the role of the legal profession.  In some ways that is going back — back to Anatamony of a Murder and To Kill a Mockingbird — and in some ways it is going forward, to a world in which lawyers are embedded in change organizations and in a market that services all classes with the legal access services they need.  To do this, the incubator-conference brochure talks in terms of a “Longitudinal Law School.”

Some ways to do this:

  • Integrating incubators with technology designed to serve middle and low income people,
  • Integrating incubators with unbundling, with its potential to help get us to 100% access to justice,
  • Thinking about the relationship of triage to the incubator — can it be a diagnostic center?
  • Exploring incubators as training centers for non-lawyer practice (the Washington State model requires 3,000 hours of attorney supervised work for certification.  This can be for pay
  • If there is to be any association  (or certification system) of incubators, making sure that a strong public service and public interest component is a membership qualification,
  • Partnering with the kinds of community organizations that can provide long term sustainable positions and/or bases for incubator graduates,
  • Working with ATJ Commissions on the 100% access agenda.
  • Research on what happens to graduates
  • Remembering, particularly for publicly supported law schools, that what the public wants is access for ALL, not just rich and poor, and that their support for increased funding for access is conditioned on this.

In any event, it is an exciting time.

The online registration link is here.

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About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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