New Legal Incubator Hub Helps Alums Launch Solo Practices Serving Modest Means Clients

Posted Wed, 05/25/2016 - 10:34

The Bay Area Legal Incubator (BALI) celebrated the launch of its new hub on May 17 at the Alameda County Law Library. Three USF School of Law alumni participants joined the accelerator in January, and, together with 11 other attorneys, have provided 3,100 hours of pro bono legal work and represented dozens of modest means clients.

BALI is a collaboration of law schools and bar associations training lawyers to create practices providing affordable legal services. The program aims to support those in need of legal services while providing long-term employment for recent law graduates. WookSun (Phil) Hong ’15, Christine MacDonald ’15, and Jennifer StaAna ’15 were selected for the inaugural cohort of solo practitioners.

McDonald appreciates the robust resources available to her through BALI, from mentors to expensive online resources and IT support to build her website. She said these benefits are kickstarting her career.

“BALI has been such an amazing way to begin my career as a lawyer,” said McDonald. “I had my first successful court hearing where I got my client exactly what he wanted — that victory has given me confidence in my skills and my voice as an attorney. I have been in court several times and feel like I am making a difference in my clients' lives. BALI has given me all of the tools and resources to trust myself as a lawyer and venture into the legal world on my own.”

“USF School of Law is thrilled to be part of launching this important new program to increase access to justice for low-income residents of the Bay Area,” said Johanna Hartwig, assistant dean for career planning and legal community engagement. “BALI is right in line with USF’s values of changing the world from here. And our three great Class of 2015 alumni in this first BALI cohort are already making a big difference in the lives of their clients.”