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JAN 27, 2015 TUESDAY

Incubator program launches in Harrisburg

A new incubator program for attorneys who want to start their own solo or small law firms has officially launched in Harrisburg.

The collaboration between Widener Law and the Dauphin County Bar Association made the opportunity possible for three 2014 Widener Law Commonwealth graduates. Those accepted into the program include John Sweet, Mark Calore, and John Tabler. A ribbon cutting was held this month.

The program provides the new legal professionals with Harrisburg office space at the Dauphin County Bar Association, computer and printing equipment, training in the work of building a law practice, mentoring, and networking support. Sweet, Calore and Tabler are required to pay for their malpractice insurance and must commit to provide 100 hours of pro bono legal work while in the program. Mid Penn Legal Services will coordinate the pro bono work. In addition, the new lawyers are being encouraged to take on “low bono” work.

The American Bar Association has encouraged development of incubator programs as a way for new lawyers to secure work while helping to meet the legal needs of poor or moderate-income individuals who have difficulty affording an attorney. New attorneys who are gaining legal experience, while their significant business expenses are being offset by an incubator program, can bridge a gap. They can provide legal representation at a lower cost for a sector of the population that finds the fees of more established attorneys out of reach.

In addition to providing office space, the Dauphin County Bar Association is coordinating networking opportunities for the participants. Widener Law Associate Clinical Professor J. Palmer Lockard II is conducting training sessions for the new attorneys, serving as a mentor and coordinating the technology provided for the offices.

“It is exciting to see the program up and running,” Lockard said. “After months of planning our new attorneys have begun to build their practices.”