image description

Pitt Legal Services Incubator

Application Status

Applications for the 2019 incubator group will open Oct. 1, 2019 with an anticipated start date of Jan. 2020. Space is limited. For more information, contact Program Director Amy Coco. The program is open to all Pitt Law graduates who are admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

A Professional Home for Entrepreneurial Lawyers

The Pitt Legal Services Incubator program ("PLSI") is an innovative program designed to support Pitt Law alumni in their development of financially sustainable solo or small firm practices.

Before reviewing the features of the program itself, it’s best to begin with the “Why” question. The professional path of the PLSI supported lawyer is not for everyone. Thus, you must ask yourself—Why might the hard and demanding work of building a law business from scratch be right for you?

Consider the following possibilities

  • You want to be your own boss and define your own practice.
  • You have a vision for your law practice—a vision that cannot be realized by joining a conventional law firm—and you will not be satisfied with your career until that vision is fulfilled.
  • The challenge of starting your own business is exhilarating in a scary sort of way.
  • The jobs that you have been offered do not meet your personal goals for work-life balance.
  • You have innovative ideas for the delivery of legal services that will bring value to your clients—and may allow you to bring quality legal services to currently underserved client communities.
  • You value professional autonomy to the extent that you will trade off a monthly paycheck to hold on to it.
  • To achieve your vision, goals and ideas, you need an affordable, cooperative office space, a program to help you launch your practice and the PLSI network to support you.

If one or more of the following statements resonate with your professional self-conception, launching your own practice may be what you truly desire—and PLSI may be the place to begin.

Here’s what the PLSI program looks like

Each year PLSI will select three to five Pitt law graduates to participate in the program. We are looking for entrepreneurial-minded lawyers seeking to build financially sustainable practices across a range of practice areas and client communities. PLSI imposes no conditions on the practice areas chosen by the lawyers it supports and does not limit the client communities you choose to serve.

Lawyers selected for the program will have office space within a newly renovated wing of the Barco Law Building.  Each lawyer will have an assigned individual workstation and will share a large common area with a multi-function office machine, a shredder, and WiFi. A conference room appropriate for meeting with clients is available.

Because the greatest challenge for the entrepreneurial lawyer is the development of a viable and sustainable business, the formal PLSI program focuses on the business side of law practice. PLSI attorneys each develop detailed business plans for their practices that they will adapt to their growing business. To assist the lawyers in the development of their capacities in the delivery of legal services, the program will facilitate relationships between the PLSI attorneys and experienced attorney mentors in the relevant substantive law areas.

PLSI offers up to two years of residency for the chosen lawyers. But some lawyers will need less time to achieve professional self-sufficiency. For this reason, a PLSI supported lawyer who is ready to leave ahead of the two-year schedule may depart the program at any time by providing only 30 days’ advance notice.  PLSI also has a non-residency program which some lawyers may elect for a lower license fee who want to stay involved with the program, but their practice has outgrown the office space.

If you have a strong sense of the “Why” and are drawn to the kind of support and structure PLSI offers, please consider applying for a spot in the new class of PLSI supported entrepreneurial lawyers at Pitt Law.

For more information, please contact Program Director Amy Coco


Program Director
Amy J. Coco

Faculty Directors
Martha Mannix
Ann Sinsheimer

News and Media

Attorney Amy J. Coco Appointed Program Director for Pitt Legal Services Incubator

Pitt announces the Pitt Legal Services Incubator for lawyers | NEXTpittsburgh

Collaborative divorce attorney Paula Hopkins appointed Program Director for Pitt Legal Services Incubator | Pitt Law

News release for Pitt Legal Services Incubator | University of Pittsburgh News Services