What makes our program so magical? BALI provides practical training and coaching, accountability systems and a supportive peer learning community to help accelerate business growth, access to new efficiency technologies, and assistance in building skill and capacity in the practice and business of law. We help build financially successfull legal businesses across a wide range of practice areas of need for untapped markets. Virtual participation is welcome. We went virtual before the COVID pandemic.Although BALI is sited in Alameda County and a program of the Alameda County Bar Association, California, attorneys do not need to limit their client base to Alameda County: some have offices in other parts of the Bay Area, state, or world. Moreover, our program is a proven model for diversification of the legal profession. Our participants are a majority women, a majority people of color, one-third immigrants, and a third identifying as lgbtqia. Over a third are bi or trilingual. A quarter of our participants identify as living with a disability. We have as many new and young attorneys as we have senior attorneys who have practiced over 20 years. Ours is a truely diverse community of life learners committed to building innovative practices and supporting eachother's accelerated success.
What makes this program design so innovative and impactful? With a widening income gap and escalating cost of legal services, few middle and low income people can afford legal representation. Additional people are disenfranchised from legal representation through geographic isolation or discrimination. These underserved markets hold great market potential. The key is figuring out how to do so while building financial success. Meanwhile, the legal profession continues to struggle with developing a successful diversity pipeline ensuring equitable success for attorneys from historically disenfranchised communities.
Most lawyers want to have impact. Many lawyers, including diverse attorneys systemically facing inequitable opportunities for success in the legal profession, would love to launch legal businesses helping communities underserved in our legal system, but they do not know how to make such a business financially viable. New attorneys often lack both the practical experience to effectively represent clients and the business experience to confidently and successfully open and operate their own firms. Many more experienced solos plateau in their business growth or struggle building financial stability in light of shifts in the legal marketplace and unfamiliarity with legal technology.
BALI opportunities include a one-year introductory program, a graduate fellowship, and an attorney in residency. All participants must be a licensed member of bar, in good standing, and able to practice law in California at the start of the program.All participants receive approximately $35,000 worth of benefits annually (including one-on-one business, executive and crisis coaching, dedicated physical work space in our hub if desired, free membership to the Alameda County Bar Association and fee-free membership to its modest means lawyer referral service, voluminous MCLEs, and access to many technology and research tools, including multiple case management software options, Lexis/Nexis, etc).
Regardless of the participant’s geographic focus or physical location, all BALI attorneys are expected to actively engage in the BALI community, whether in person or virtually. All trainings and community meetings are video-casted to allow active participation from afar, and all attorneys are encouraged to work collaboratively and to share resources electronically. Participation and engagement is a primary value and expected, without exception.
New-er attorney and founder of a new legal business looking for a coaching incubator community that offers camaraderie of peers building affordable law practices, accountability to push business growth, access to legal technology tools, and training on legal business innovations and best practices.BALI's formal one-year incubator program provides coaching, accountabilitystructure, and resources to accelerate launch of sustainable, affordable law practices serving people of middle and lower incomes.
Incubator-Attorney Type 2
Life Learning at Its Best.
Experienced attorneys looking to reinvent their professional identityand launch a new/improved legal business venture with the help of a coaching incubator community offering cross-generational camaraderie of peers building affordable law practices, accountability to push business growth, access to legal technology tools, and training on legal business innovations and best practices. These Incubator attorneys take part in the one-year incubator program.
Keep the Magic Flowing.
Attorneyswho completed the BALI 1-year incubator program and want to continue actively participating in the program and the community, adding opportunities to coach and be coached in substantive law and/or law business management.
Attorneys in Residence
The Perfect Alchemy of Curious and Wise.
Experienced attorney looking to relocate an existing legal business into an environment that provides cross-generational camaraderie of peers interested in using the law to have social impact, opportunity to coach and be coached in law business management and the law, access to legal technology tools, and training on legal business innovations and best practices. BALI is founded on the belief that success is community made - we believe legalentrepreneurs benefit from career-long access to community, shared learning, and new ideas and technology. Therefore we encourage cross-generational learning and coaching within BALI by providing opportunity for more experienced solo attorneys to benefit from and contribute as attorneys in residence to our community of legal entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for a reduced overhead place to evolve, learn, collaborate, counsel, and make the shifts in your own practice with like-minded attorneys seeking to make impact by serving peoplehistorically disenfranchised from legal representation, then BALI is for you.
BALI Brain Trust
Wise Elders Among Us.
Attorneys with expertise in substantive law and/or business development that contribute to the community by hosting monthly coaching groups and advising the development of the incubator. By invitation only.
Staff & Leadership
Natasha "Natasha" Ventsko
Natalia “Natasha” Ventsko is a licensed California and Louisiana attorney. Her legal experience started at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL) where she advocated on behalf of juveniles in secure care facilities state-wide. Additionally, while at JJPL Natasha worked on impact litigation strategies which included various matters ranging juvenile life without parole to barriers accessing education/school to prison-pipeline disputes.
In 2018 Natasha joined the Bay Area Legal Incubators (BALI) as a participant to widen her scope to tax and mediation. While at BALI, Natasha launched a tax practice and takes immense pride in her ability to empower her clients to address their tax matters. Natasha’s motto is “I will not just talk tax at you- I will talk tax with you!” Natasha also uses her practice as a vehicle to collaborate with other attorneys and community organizations to lend her skillset to address social inequities that she is deeply passionate about. Most recently she has collaborated with other stakeholders on supporting survivors of forced sterilizations access reparations. As the director of BALI, Natasha looks forward to leveraging her experience to support BALI’s participants launch and sustain successful practices that provide affordable and accessible legal services.
Natasha’s credentials include an LL.M in Taxation from the University of San Francisco (2018), Master of Social Work from Southern University of New Orleans (2013), Juris doctorate from Loyola College of Law (2009), and Bachelor of Social Work from San Jose State University (2006). Natasha is also a certified mediator. .
Carlos is the rock behind the magic at BALI. He manages the administrative side of BALI - coordinating trainings and legal technology presentations, ensuring our members are supported in onboarding and contributing to the community, and generally helping to run the ship.
BALI Brain Trust
Our Brain Trust is composed of esteemed experienced attorneys with expertise in substantive law and/or business development that contribute to the BALI community by hosting monthly coaching groups and advising the development of programs.
Senior Associate District Attorney and Policy Chief, Alameda County District Attorney's Office (and Founding Director of BALI).Cynthia Chandler is an acclaimed attorney, change agent, and social entrepreneur with demonstrated success tackling some of the most pressing social issues of our time. Her innovations include launching the first organization advancing the rights of HIV+ women in prison; creating the compassionate release process and statutory structure in California and nationally allowing for the safe release from prison of terminally ill and incapacitated people; co-founding the Eviction Defense Center in Oakland, CA; and co-founding Critical Resistance and Justice Now, early prison abolitionist organizations influencing the Black Lives Matter network. She has an extensive record of coaching to success BIPOC nonprofit and corporate founders and regularly is brought in as a change manager for organizations seeking significant reorganization, growth, or culture shift. She runs monthly BALI coaching groups on branding and delegation.
Mediator, ADR Services. Geri Green, Esq. is a full-time mediator and discovery referee. She has successfully mediated and presided over nearly 1,000 disputes in the areas of Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Business, Employment, Real Estate, Landlord-Tenant, Insurance Coverage, Civil Rights & Disability Rights, Police Misconduct, Probate, and Elder Abuse. Geri runs a monthly BALI Alternative Dispute Resolution coaching group.
R. Terese May
Founder and Principal, Covington May Law P.C. and Family Wealth Manager.R. Terese May, is a licensed attorney with the California State Bar. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Finance) from California State University East Bay and a Juris Doctor from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She holds the Charter Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation from the American College of Financial Services and is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), holding Series 7, Series 63, and Series 65 licenses, among others. Becoming an attorney was not a casual decision for Terese. After two decades of helping client’s amass wealth, her only professional frustration was the inability to protect their autonomy, as they aged. It was disheartening to watch how easily a client’s wishes could be completely unacknowledged, even in moments of clarity, once it was evident they had entered a state of decline. Terese runs BALI's Trust and Estates Study Group.
Founder and Principal, Law Office of John Douglas Moore. John Moore is a legal stragegist with over 40 years of experience in civil litigation and wills and trust litigation. He also enjoys helping small businesses grow the next step to medium-size and has brought this passion to his work supporting BALI law business founders grow their firms. In addition to his litigation work, John has special expertise in recycling and discard management, and he has been at the forefront of the recycling and sustainability movement internationally. John runs BALI's Civil Litigation Study Group and provides litigation coaching to the community.
Founder and Principal, Law Office of Cinthya Tyler. Cynthia Tyler is BALI attorney with over 8 years of experience in immigration law, including removal defense and asylum. She focuses her practice primarily on cases for immigrant youth and families. She also enjoys working with other attorneys to navigate their cases and come up with strategies to win. Cynthia provides coaching in immigration law and small business development.
Founder and Principal, E-Justice Project, APC. Ms. Phillips is a California licensed attorney. Ms. Phillips earned her law degree from American Heritage University of Southern California, School of Law.
She established her legal careerinterning for California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), an organization committed to the fight for justice and individual rights. At CRLA, Ms. Phillips participated in civil rights legal advocacy, which included litigating school to prison pipeline matters, and working with the Housing Authority of the County of Kern to establish a legally compliant Language Access Plan.
After her time at CRL, Ms. Phillips went to work as an attorney for one of California’s largest plaintiff side labor and employment law firms - zealously advocating for the rights of employees. Ms. Phillips has represented hundreds of clients in claims ranging from wage and hour issues, wrongful termination and retaliation, sexual harassment, discrimination, FMLA/ADA violations, and other employment related disputes.
Most recently, Ms. Phillips launched her own labor and employment law firm, E-Justice Project, APC in 2020. EJP is committed to providing advocacy for California workers, particularly those within the justice gap.
BALI is a project of the Alameda County Bar Association in collaboration with 5 California law schools and our county law library. Our sponsoring law schools sponsor a limited number of alumni annually to participate in BALI. If your alma matter sponsors BALI membership, please complete aBALI applicationand contact your BALI school representative provided for more information on their sponsorship selection criteria.