UMKC School of Law launches Solo and Small Firm Incubator

Open house takes place Nov. 3

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law (SOL) will commemorate the launch of its Solo and Small Law Firm Incubator from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 4743 Troost Ave., Kansas City, Mo. Parking is available across the street at the Anita Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave.

Developed with assistance from The Missouri Bar Association and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association’s Solo Practitioner/Small Firms committee, the Incubator will assist recent graduates entering solo and small firm practices. It will provide affordable office space for about nine tenants, as well as practice management assistance and mentoring so that graduates can gain support in launching their own practices, while also providing pro bono or affordable legal services to the underserved Troost area corridor.

“From our Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic to our Solo and Small Firm Institute, the School of Law has a long history of effectively educating lawyers for the practice of law and supporting them as they enter law practice,” said School of Law Dean Ellen Suni. “The School has produced some of the most well-respected and successful solo and small firm attorneys in the nation. The Solo and Small Law Firm Incubator simply furthers this commitment to excellence.”

Through the UMKC Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic at 4747 Troost Ave., SOL students help new entrepreneurs obtain legal and business services they could not otherwise afford. Through its Solo and Small Firm Institute, launched in 2004, the SOL positions law students to be entrepreneurs. The Institute offers a summer course and a series of fall and spring semester workshops on business planning and other topics of interest in founding and operating a law firm. In both cases, instruction involves interaction with SOL faculty, faculty from the Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration, practicing attorneys and other professionals. Students also attend the Missouri Bar Association’s annual Solo & Small Firm Conference, the premiere conference of its kind in the nation.

Steady enrollment increases in the SOL’s solo and small firm courses, combined with hiring freezes and layoffs by law firms and other employers, suggest that many UMKC graduates will try to establish solo or small firms. By the summer of 2010, 150 SOL graduates had completed the school’s existing Solo and Small Firm Institute curriculum. According to the American Bar Foundation’s last published Lawyers Statistical Report, as of 2000 about 70 percent of private practice lawyers worked in firms of 10 or fewer, and about 50 percent of lawyers were solo practitioners. The SOL believes those percentages are likely to be equaled or exceeded as large firms experience mergers and layoffs.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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