Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
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Career Services


ESQ.BUILD— Sole Practitioner Incubator for Memphis Law Grads

The University of Memphis School of Law Career Services Office, the Memphis Bar Association (MBA), in partnership with the MBA Small Firm and Solo Practitioner Section, and the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), is pleased to announce the launch of an incubator for new solo practitioners, ESQ. BUILD. ESQ.BUILD is designed for new attorneys (Memphis Law grads only) who are in their first three years of practice to receive training regarding not only how to practice law, but how to manage a law office.

ESQ.BUILD was developed to offer recent law school graduates a program wherein they are provided office space at a greatly reduced price, mentoring, CLE and other services to assist them in learning how to start and run a solo or small law firm practice.

Participation in this program is limited to eight to ten attorneys who are selected during an application process. For one year, they will receive office space at Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) at a greatly reduced cost (between $50 and $100 per month). Participants will have a private office and a conference room to meet clients, but will need to provide their own phone, computer, printer, and other office equipment. Participants will be required to handle pro bono cases for MALS, as well as donate a certain number of hours of service to the MBA. The Incubator is designed to teach young attorneys how to obtain clients and market their practice, so participants are encouraged and expected to generate fees from their own clients. Seminars will be offered on obtaining court appointed cases and cultivating referral sources. Participants will be assigned a lawyer mentor to shadow and discuss the practical aspects of practicing law. They will also attend CLEs that are geared specifically to teach them how to practice law, as well as learn how to run a small business. Participants will also be paired with a non-attorney business mentor affiliated with SCORE who will offer free advice concerning a business plan, marketing strategy and general information regarding starting a business. 

To be considered for this program, you must:

  • Be a graduate of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law;
  • Admitted to practice in Tennessee within the past three years;
  • Have an active license to practice in Tennessee or have taken the Tennessee Bar Examination at the time of applying for the program;
  • Be a member of the Memphis Bar Association;
  • Have professional liability insurance (if you do not have this, we can help you obtain professional liability insurance once you are licensed. If you happen not to pass the bar, you do not need to go forward with this program)

Except for reduced payment for office space, there is no charge to participate in this program. Applications are available ONLINE (CLICK HERE); in the Career Services Office at the law school; or by contacting Anne Fritz at the MBA (527.3575; afritz@memphisbar.org). 


What if I am awaiting bar results and don't have any professional liability insurance?

We can help you obtain professional liability insurance once you are licensed. If you happen not to pass the bar, you do not need to go forward with this program.

I am not a member of the Memphis Bar Association.

You can become a member right now for a very low cost.

The service hours seem high.

We have lowered the MALS pro bono requirement to 10 hours a month and the MBA service hours to 5 hours a month.

How much is the cost to have an office out of the MALS space?

It is only $100/month which is the best bargain you can find anywhere.  You will be building your practice while in the program so you can collect fees which should more than cover the $100/month fee, especially since you will be given guidance on how to develop clients from both your attorney mentor and non-attorney mentor.

What if I get a job offer while I am in the program?

You are not precluded from accepting a job offer if one arises during the program.

The application can be found by CLICKING HERE, and the deadline to submit applications to the Memphis Bar Association is Friday, August 15th. The graduate can hand deliver, fax or email application materials to Anne Fritz at 145 Court Avenue, #301, Memphis, TN 38103, afritz@memphisbar.org, fax: 527-3582.

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Last Updated: 7/8/14