JDB 073: How Two Lawyers Started a Non-Profit Law Firm Right out of Law School



composite_plaza2-cropped-960x360In this episode of the JDBlogger Podcast I interview Shantelle Argyle and Daniel Spencer, co-founders of Utah’s first non-profit law firm – Open Legal Services.  Their firm is dedicated to helping clients who earn too much to qualify for free legal services but earn too little to be able to afford a traditional private firm.  The mission of Open Legal Services is to “bridge the justice gap by providing affordable legal services to low and moderate income people.”

Shantelle and Daniel share their experience on the benefits and challenges of starting and operating a non-profit law firm.  While a non-profit firm bears many of the same traits of a solo law practice there are definitely some differences, particularly as it relates to –

  • Qualifying their clients for the “low bono” law services
  • Determining hourly billing rates
  • How they keep overhead low and marketing expenses to a minimum
  • How to gain competency in new areas of the law as a young lawyer
  • How they have grown from a start up to a six lawyer firm in two years with no debt
  • How other lawyers in their community have reacted to their non-profit model
  • Their recommendations and resources if you are interested in starting a non-profit law firm in your state

Thinking of Starting Your Own Firm?

Whether you are an experienced attorney or still in law school if you are wanting to start your own law practice you will find this episode extremely helpful.  Shantelle and Daniel walk you through their process of starting a law firm right out of law school and how they have prospered by providing legal services to a segment of the community that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford legal help.  Not only is their mission noble, but you will be inspired by their approach and management of their unique law practice. This is a must listen episode for anyone even thinking of making the jump to their own practice.

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