A new nonprofit organization that will help recent graduates of Mitchell Hamline School of Law set up community-based, low bono law practices has officially launched.
The Collaborative Community Law Initiative is a law firm incubator program that provides 18 months of training, on-site mentorship, shared office space and other resources to new attorneys who want to provide affordable legal services to underserved populations. CCLI is especially focused on filling the “justice gap” that disproportionately affects minority residents and tribal communities in Minnesota.
In its pre-launch stage, CCLI helped Inti Martínez-Alemán ’16 start Ceiba Fôrte, a law firm specializing in civil cases for Minnesota’s Latino community. Martínez-Alemán’s opened his firm in late October, a little more than four months after graduating from Mitchell Hamline.
“Without CCLI’s support, I would not be able to feasibly run a practice straight out of law school,” he said. “CCLI offers new lawyers office space, administrative support, practice management software, a pipeline of low bono cases, and a robust panel of mentors.”
Kristina Perez ’16 also began working with CCLI after graduating from Mitchell Hamline. Perez received help with mentoring, marketing, continuing education, and creating a vision for what she wanted to do after law school.
“CCLI has been instrumental in the most difficult stage of all this,” Perez said. “It’s one thing to say I have a dream of owning my own firm, and the drive to get there. CCLI puts me in close contact with successful people who have paved their own way, on their own terms.”
Mitchell Hamline Professor Peter Knapp is director of the school’s clinical program and serves as the president of CCLI’s board of directors.
“We want to give our graduates a hand building practices for communities that need lawyers, and this is a wonderful way to do that,” Knapp said. “I’m pleased Mitchell Hamline has committed to this project.”
Twin Cities Business Magazine featured CCLI in this Aug. 31, 2016 article.