Bar Associations Give Jobless Lawyers a Boost

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Dec. 3 (Bloomberg Law) -- "Ironic" could be the theme of the current market for legal services: thousands of unemployed new lawyers, but even more potential clients who can't afford market-rate legal bills.

Now bar associations are playing matchmaker. The New York City Bar Association is starting a law firm and the Chicago Bar Foundation is creating an incubator. Both will link new lawyers with moderate-income clients, charging lower See more +

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg Law) -- "Ironic" could be the theme of the current market for legal services: thousands of unemployed new lawyers, but even more potential clients who can't afford market-rate legal bills.

Now bar associations are playing matchmaker. The New York City Bar Association is starting a law firm and the Chicago Bar Foundation is creating an incubator. Both will link new lawyers with moderate-income clients, charging lower prices than typical firms.

With fewer associate jobs in big law, 44% of 2012's law graduates who entered private practice wound up in firms with two to 10 lawyers. The Bar initiatives will help transition new lawyers into small firms, and help them develop their own clientele. And there is no shortage of clients; one study found that about 60% of middle-class legal needs are handled without lawyers.

The matters that these lawyers will handle could include custody disputes, small business issues, and immigration cases.

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