ACBA/BALI Now Accepting Applications
Take the next step toward realizing your dreams.
BALI is accepting applications for both our 1-year legal incubator and attorney in residence opportunities. Whether launching a solo law
practice, strengthening your existing law firm, or building an innovative legal business, apply if excited to be part of a resourced coaching community designed to help you have impact, benefit from affordable coaching and peer support, and love your work. Virtual applicants/practices welcome.
Build your own legal business with:
- Business, executive, and crisis management individual and group coaching to keep you on track for success,
- Camaraderie and shared knowlege of peers building law businesses,
- Free legal tech tools and continuing education to increase efficiency,
- Dedicated office space in Oakland, close to courthouse/BART,
- Support working virtually from any location.
Are you a...
New-er or experienced attorney looking to launch a legal business?
Apply as an Incubator Attorney ($250/monthsponsored; $350/month free-agent).
Experienced attorney looking to thrive with a resourced community?
Apply as an Attorney in Residence ($350/month).
Are you the right fit?
In choosing applicants, we look for attorneys who are:
- Launching a business by design,
- Committed to increasing access to justice, with interest in serving untapped markets and/or building lucrative, affordable practices;
- Receptive to coaching and constructive feedback;
- Seeking to support the growth, development, and promotion of the BALI community; and
- Able to support themselves while building a legal business;
- Reasonably likely to succeed in the program, as evaluated by review of the applicants’ preparation, skill, vision, and whether weaknesses match benefits proffered.
Sometimes it’s not the right fit.
BALI members must be licensed and in good standing with the California State Bar to participate. On a case by case basis, determination will be made whether applicants licensed to practice in another state/jurisdiction may qualify.
BALI is not merely an affordable co-working space where people keep to themselves. BALI is a coaching community. Members are expected to intentionally participate in and contribute to the cross-generational learning and programming offered by the program, whether done so virtually or in person.
We are looking for attorneys who are business founders by design, not default. Building a business is rewarding, hard work work which is sustainable when people are excited by and committed to building a business. Moreover, noone can hand anyone a business on a platter. Members should come in expecting to work hard and enjoy what they do.
In addition to membership fees, what other obligations come with membership?
Aside from complyingwith your ethical obligations as a lawyer, sponsored and free-agent attorney participants are expected to comply with all rules and policies of the BALI program, which include for introductory incubator attorneys:
- attending a one-on-one coaching session every 2 weeks with the BALI director;
- completing 20 hours of substantive law MCLE units in the first 3 months and 52 hours of business MCLE or self-study in the first year;
- performing 100 hours of pro bono service in the year if performed through 1-2 opportunities, or 150 hours if performed through numerous opportunities;
- committing that at least half your legal time is spent on reduced-fee work for modest means clients, or representation of other disenfranchised communities; and
- cooperating with datacollection aiding in the evaluation of the BALI program.
Graduate fellows and attorneys inresidence must commit to the following:
- engaging in the BALI community through optional attendance in community meetings, maintaining mutually beneficial business relationships with members of the BALI community, and providing up to one hour a month total in informal coaching to BALI participants on an as needed basis;
- inclusion in business design some service of modest means legal clients or otherwise disenfranchised communities; and
- cooperating with data collection aiding in the evaluation of the BALI program.
If I join and it's not the right fit, how can I leave the program?
We are not running a cult, lol - we have no interest in forcing people to remain in the program. Joking aside, the BALI community itself is a significant value. Having folks in that community who do not want to be there dilutes that value proposition for everyone. Therefore we have an easy, transparent termination policy. Graduate fellows and attorneys in residence must give one month’s notice to end their contract with BALI. Introductory sponsored or free-agent program participants are encouraged and expected to fulfill their one-year commitment to the program because a sponsor has invested significant resources in their participation. At the same time, it is understood that unexpected, exigent circumstances might arise that would require a BALI attorney leave before the program year has passed. If this happens, they must give one month’s notice to end the contract with BALI, and if they are a school-sponsored applicant, they are required to communicate their termination to the school’s BALI representative.
Are all legal business formations possible?
Yes. Most participants form their own solo practice or corporation, or create/join a practice with other incubator attorneys (which we caution may result in higher malpractice and overhead costs, and so we encourage folks to examine other partnership, cocounsel or of counsel relationships, too). Some BALI members found non-profit organizations or fiscally sponsored programs under an existing non-profit. Still other BALI members are experimenting with innovative business models and/or the formation of legal technology or design businesses.
I am not looking for a boss or employer. What kind of control over my practice does BALI exert?
NONE! Participants are not employees of or supervised by BALI, ACBA, or any sponsors involved. Participants get the benefits of being part of a supportive community of collegeaues without the structure of employment. In consulting with BALI staff, coaches, or participants, attorneys are expected to maintain client confidentiality consistent with BALI participants’ status as running separate firms/practices.
Do I have to carry malpractice insurance?
Participants are required to carry malpractice insurance appropriate for their practice type. Many participants within their first few years of practice choose to take advantage of reduced cost insurance available to new solo practitioners for $50 per month through Lawyers Mutual, if they qualify. Many others have taken advantage of Lawyers Mutual’s new low-income attorney plans, which can greatly aid more senior attorneys in a career shift that results in lowered income for a period of transition.
Please email the BALI Director to schedule a time to chat.