Welcome to the Solo and Small Practice Incubator
Applications for the 2020-21 program are now OPEN!
The Solo & Small Practice Incubator (SSPI) is a one-year program designed to offer a select group of entrepreneurial-minded recent IIT Chicago-Kent graduates with valuable experience and ongoing training to help build their professional careers as solo or small firm legal practitioners. The program is intended to accelerate the successful development of newly admitted lawyers in an "incubator" environment.
SSPI encourages and supports its graduates by providing substantive and skills training workshops, coaching in marketing and business development, mentoring support, networking opportunities, and an array of other resources. Participants are also provided with a working space and basic office fixtures.
Although there is no program fee to participate in SSPI, it is suggested that participants spend a couple hours per week with their matched clinical faculty or alumni-mentor in the mentor's firm. At a minimum, participants are required to meet with their matched mentors eight times during the yearlong program. Time spent in the mentors' firms provide participants with additional experiential training, and assists in further enhancing participants' professional careers.
Participation is limited to IIT Chicago-Kent graduates. For more information, contact Dawn Young at firstname.lastname@example.org. The 2020-21 program is scheduled to start late February 2020. Interested in the program? Click below to apply! Application deadline: 12/15/19.
Is SSPI right for me?
Four reasons why it may be:
The decision to go the solo or small-firm route is not for everyone. Why might building your own law practice be right for you? Consider the following:
You seek freedom and autonomy.
You want to be able to take full ownership of your work and want more independence professionally. You want control over the clients you work with.
You are ready for challenge (and there's something exhilarating about it!).
The thought of owning your own business is scary, but exciting at the same time. You know it will take hard work, but you are ready for the challenge. You understand that starting out, you will not only be the attorney, but the marketing director, business development manager, the accountant, and paralegal…all rolled into one. Through SSPI’s various workshops, you’ll not only learn from seasoned lawyers but from other professionals in the industry — from legal marketers who can help with business development strategy and marketing techniques to accountants who can discuss the business and tax consequences of opening a practice.
You want more than to just practice law.
You may want to create art. If you have a vision for what your firm would look like, and do not believe you will be satisfied working for another person in a conventional firm, then you may not be satisfied until you can carry out your vision...your artistry. In his book Linchpin, Seth Godin writes “I’ve found people in every job you can imagine doing art. There are waiters and writers and musicians and doctors and nurses and lawyers who find art in their work.” An artist is not necessarily someone who picks up a paintbrush. An artist, according to Godin, is one who uses bravery, intuition, and creativity to challenge the status quo. It is someone who creates something and shares it with the world because it’s important and it will make a difference.
You are unsure and want to test the waters.
SSPI is known to help individuals jump start their own practices. But, the program has also helped those who are unsure and would like to “test the waters.” Relationships built through the program have opened up referral networks, increased participants’ knowledge and skills, and for some, have opened up future job opportunities.
- Uncertain About Whether to Start Your Own Practice? Legal Incubators can Help, ABA Young Lawyers Division, Nov. 2019.
- Musings from an incubator director: Do legal incubators really work?, ABA Before the Bar, Oct. 2019.
- Legal Resources That Don't Affect Your Wallet (video is in Spanish), Univision, Oct. 2015.
- Young lawyers take flight after incubator programs, ABA Journal, Feb. 1, 2015.
- Flying solo, with a boost from mentors, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Feb. 14, 2014.
- Law School Launches Program to House New Solo Lawyers, ABA Journal, Oct. 25, 2012.
- Chicago-Kent opens solo incubator, National Jurist, Oct. 26, 2012.
- Chicago-Kent, Thomas Jefferson Join Solo Incubator Movement, National Law Journal, Oct. 29, 2012.
- IIT's law school launches jobs incubator with seven alums, Crain's Chicago Business, Oct. 30, 2012.
- Taking their destiny into their own hands and starting a firm, Chicago Lawyer, Nov. 1, 2012.
- Incubadoras de firmas de advocacia prosperam nos EUA, Consultor Jurídico (Brazil), Nov. 5, 2012.
- Chicago-Kent's solo-attorney incubator nurtures new lawyers, Illinois Bar Journal, Jan. 2012.