In a recent article by The Florida Bar News, Megan E. Davis features FIU’s LawBridge Program, which combines elements from a medical school residency and a business school entrepreneurial incubator into a two-year program for recent graduates who have passed the Florida Bar Examination.
FIU’s LawBridge gives graduates a hand up
By Megan E. Davis
In January, half a dozen new law school graduates hung their own shingles and opened practices in an office suite on Brickell Avenue in the heart of Miami’s financial district.
Less than a year later, all six firms are operating in the black, but that’s not all, said Alex Acosta, dean of Florida International University’s College of Law.
Thanks to the school’s LawBridge program, the young practitioners are also becoming well-versed in ethical and professional standards central to practicing law and in their responsibilities to the public as members of the profession, he said.
Traditionally, new law school graduates take jobs with established law firms or clerkships with judges to learn those skills not taught in law schools — how to actually practice law and run a firm, said Tony Santos, the director of the LawBridge program.
But many of those opportunities for new lawyers have dried up in the past two decades, and the economic downturn has accelerated that trend in recent years, he said.
Acosta articulated the problem facing new graduates by repeating a question on the lips of many throughout the profession: “Where are tomorrow’s lawyers going to be trained?”
Seeking to answer that question for its graduates, Florida International launched LawBridge, a legal residency program, this year.
Mirroring similar components of a medical school residency and a business school entrepreneurial incubator, the program targets recent graduates seeking to establish their own firms, Santos said.
This year, one of those new lawyers was Gregorie Dolce.
“One of the reasons I was very interested in a solo practice was because, as the mother of three young children, I wanted to have more control in my work-life balance,” she said.