Attorneys selected to participate in the program have passed the Pennsylvania Bar Association exam and, as part of the program, will provide legal representation in civil matters to low-income residents of Dauphin County.
The Dauphin County Bar Association provides the attorneys with office space at 213 N. Front Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where they will begin their legal careers. Office space is provided without charge as well as appropriate office furnishings, tech equipment, and mentoring.
Attorneys participate in the program for one year. Seminars on the basics of law office operation take place during November and December. Following these initial educational offerings, the Dauphin County Bar Association and Widener Law will provide bi-monthly speakers and training on such concerns as developing a business plan, acquiring malpractice insurance, networking for success, and legal research. Law School faculty and bar association members also provide ad hoc mentoring. Mentoring is offered in person and, due to the physical distance between the Law School and the office location, augmented through web-based technology.
In exchange for benefits received, attorneys participating in the incubator program each agree to provide one-hundred hours of pro bono service to low-income residents of Dauphin County. These low-income clients are referred by MidPenn Legal Services and the Law School’s clinical program. Clients are income-eligible for services from MidPenn. Cases referred to the attorneys involve direct representation of individual clients in civil matters, and the attorneys are expected to work with Mid-Penn Legal Services to ensure a focus on providing legal service in areas of need.
In addition to the above public service cases, attorneys are free to represent clients in whatever legal matters they chose. It is our hope that during their year in the program, attorneys begin to build what will eventually become successful private practices.
At the end of the incubator year, the attorneys should be ready to move their practices to offices of their choosing, and a new group of attorneys will move into the program.