When proponents of legal incubators held seminars several years ago about their efforts to address the unmet legal needs of the public, they say they were thrilled to draw anywhere from a half-dozen to a dozen people.
This past weekend, 160 people gathered at California Western School of Law for the second annual international conference on legal incubators and residencies, a 33 percent increase in attendance over the first gathering last spring.
Incubator pioneers said the large turnout and excitement among attendees demonstrates the state of the movement — which has seen an increase in the past three years from a handful to at least three dozen incubators worldwide — is as strong as it has ever been.
Fred Rooney, who founded the first incubator in New York eight years ago and oversaw the launch of the first international one in the Dominican Republic in 2013, said he expects the momentum to continue, especially with additional projects funded or on the drawing board.
“We have the energy. We have the drive," said Rooney, of Touro Law Center in New York. "We have the ambition to push our institutions to be able do more and to be able to serve the millions of the people in this country who don’t even have a prayer of ever seeing a lawyer.”
Directors of incubators, law school leaders, bar association representatives, judges and attorneys were among those attending the event.
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