The Justice Legal Center is recruiting its third class of attorneys interested in establishing private law practices committed to social justice and legal advocacy on behalf of victims of domestic and sexual violence. Applications will be accepted through December 15, 2020.
The JLC launched its inaugural class of five attorneys in 2017 at The Center for Family Justice, the Bridgeport-based nonprofit which provides crisis and supportive services to victims of domestic and sexual violence from the communities of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull.
Since then, this innovative program, part of a growing national trend, has provided its clients with hundreds of hours of free or reduced-fee legal services and its member attorneys with hundreds of client referrals, enabling the attorneys to earn a living while helping to bridge the civil justice gap in Connecticut.
“We are proud of the work we are doing to bring justice to so many victims of domestic and sexual violence who so often need and deserve legal representation,” said Debra A. Greenwood, President & CEO of The Center for Family Justice. “We are excited about the opportunity to bring in a new class of attorneys into our incubator who share our commitment to social justice through this innovative approach to delivering legal services.”
To build on its success and expand its reach, the JLC is currently recruiting an additional five to join its incubator in early 2021. The attorneys must be licensed to practice in Connecticut and show an interest in creating an economically-viable solo practice committed to social justice work.
Greenwood noted that the lack of access to affordable legal counsel is a challenge that many CFJ clients have identified as a primary obstacle in their efforts to receive justice and rebuild their lives after they have experienced trauma due to domestic or sexual abuse. “It is our mission to help our clients transform from victims to survivors,” she explained. “Creating this incubator is part of a larger vision we have had to fill in the gaps in service victims experience in their efforts to overcome abuse, trauma and violence.”
The lawyers selected for the JLC team, who come from a variety of professional and legal backgrounds and may be newly admitted or experienced, receive heavily-subsidized office space in the lower level of CFJs headquarters as well as basic office and technology support.
They also receive professional mentorship and training under the direction of CFJ’s Legal Incubator Coordinator, Jennifer Ferrante, JD., as well as a steady stream of referrals and other perks such as free legal research and case management software for one year.
The JLC’s incubator program represents a growing trend in the legal profession. Since the first legal incubator was established in 2007 in New York, the American Bar Association estimates that nearly 70 programs have been established across the United States. This trend is expected to grow as the practice of law becomes more virtual amidst the current public health crisis and more law schools, nonprofits and social service agencies develop legal incubators as a creative approach to meeting the needs of legally underserved populations.
Each attorney who joints the JLC signs a two-year contract be part of the incubator project.
Funds to launch and sustain the JLC have been provided, in part, from a generous grant from the Leir Family Foundation.
For more information about the program , please visit: https://centerforfamilyjustice.org/get-help/services/the-justice-legal-center/. To receive an application or become involved as a mentor or trainer, please contact Jennifer Ferrante at JFerrante@CenterforFamilyJustice.org.