"Even though I've been practicing a couple years, there's still things that I have questions on," says Graham, who worked with low-income clients at Legal Aid. "It's great to have someone there that has the answer."
However, school incubators don't shield graduates from the growing pains that come with starting a business.
"I don't have an IT department," Graham says, when describing the difficulty of setting up a secure email on her own.
Instead of creating an incubator, the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is starting a full-fledged firm that opens this year. Roughly 10 graduates will be hired as associates at the ASU Alumni Law Group, and there will be five to seven partners who have a minimum of 10 years of experience practicing law.
The paid associates will be encouraged to stay up to three years, unless they mess up.
"Those partners will fire associates that are not getting the job done," says ASU law school Dean Douglas Sylvester. The partners will also decide which cases the firm brings in – they'll seek clients that force associates to tackle unfamiliar areas of the law – and spend up to 60 percent of their time providing educational opportunities for recent graduates.
Even at an incubator, the experience can be likened to what will take place at ASU.
"We're practicing as we would in a private firm or anything like that," says Relles of Pace.
For him, there have been no drawbacks from joining the Pace Community Law Group. "This program has built a foundation for me that will last throughout my career."
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