Whether you like Harvard Law School or not, you have to agree that virtually every HLS graduate can write their own ticket to whatever job they want. So it’s gratifying to see that with so many career options, young HLS grads are still choosing solo practice, as reported in this article from the HLS Bulletin, The Coming Wave (11/5/06). The article profiles Luz Herrera and Eric Castelblanco, HLS grads who each opened solo practices to serve underserved, Hispanic communities. From the article:
For both Castelblanco and Herrera, there was no road map for an Ivy-educated lawyer to start a viable law practice for low-income clients. “Traditionally, if you want to do public service, you are directed to apply for a Skadden fellowship, work for the government or go to a civil rights impact litigation organization,” said Herrera. “But for me, none of those options seemed like the right choice. I did not want to spend 90 percent of my time doing research or working in a direct-service organization whose approach I did not completely buy into. Working in my own law office allows me to provide legal services to individuals who may not otherwise have an attorney and tap into my entrepreneurial spirit while being an active member of the community.”
But before Herrera could help people navigate the legal system, she had to figure out the nuts and bolts of running a law practice, including how to set up a billing system–problems that a first-year associate at a major firm would never have to worry about. “The first year is very hard,” she said. “No one tells you how to set up a practice in law school.”
Now, Herrerra has taken a break from her practice and has joined the Community Enterprise Project at Hale & Dorr to develop a fellowship that will help law graduates learn how to start law practices in underserved communities (a project which sounds similar to the Law School Consortium).