Suffolk Law’s Accelerator-to-Practice Receives ABA Legal Access Award; Program Recognized as Innovator in Promoting Affordable Legal Services for Moderate-Income Clients

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Suffolk University Law School’s Accelerator- to-Practice Program has been recognized by the American Bar Association as this year’s top innovator in providing accessible legal services to average-income clients.

Suffolk University Law School’s Accelerator-to-Practice Program was recognized by the American Bar Association as this year’s top innovator in providing accessible legal services to average-income clients.

The ABA’s Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access each year recognizes one program or project that supports affordable delivery of legal services to people of moderate means “in ways that are exemplary and replicable.” The ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services chose to recognize the Accelerator-to-Practice Program with the 2016 Brown Award because its mission is to prepare graduates to join or start sustainable law practices serving average-income individuals and families.

Suffolk Law’s Accelerator-to-Practice Program is the nation’s first three-year comprehensive course of study to use legal technology, law practice management and alternative models for the delivery of legal services in combination with targeted experiential training in for-profit small-firm practices and in a specially created law firm embedded within the Law School.

The program functions through a unique collaboration of law school faculty, administrators, career professionals and outside practitioners. It was developed by Professor Jeffrey Pokorak, vice provost for faculty & curriculum; Professor Ilene Seidman, associate dean for academic affairs; and Gerald Slater, associate dean for professional & career development. They published the paper “Stop Thinking and Start Doing: Three-Year Accelerator-to-Practice Program as a Market-Based Solution for Legal Education” in the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy.

“The Law School has worked extremely hard on this program and is now beginning to see the results, not only with this type of recognition, but more importantly with the advancement of students who are now entering practice with the unique skillset that has resulted from your innovations. We hope to encourage other schools to make similar advances by pointing to your creative work,” said an award letter from the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services.

“We’re training students who want to make a living helping people to access the large market of average-income Americans in need of affordable legal services,” said Slater.

Seidman said the program’s curriculum, which includes classroom and hands-on practical training in both the business and practice of law, produces graduates with a more comprehensive and practical skill set.

Both point to Suffolk Law’s expanded curriculum in law technology and innovation and the business and legal training offered in the Program’s Accelerator Practice, managed by Professor William Berman, as the substance of the program’s initial success.

Now in its second year, the program is expanding to include more students. Its first graduates are entering small-firm practice or applying their legal technology training with firms and legal technology providers.

See Also:
Students explain the Accelerator
One student’s “social justice meets law tech” journey
Creating apps to promote access to justice
After winning election to probate court, student brings tech-savvy approach to old-school court
Suffolk University Law School, located in the heart of Boston, is dedicated to welcoming students from all backgrounds and circumstances and educating them to become highly skilled and ethical lawyers who are well-prepared to serve in their local communities, across the nation and around the world. Suffolk Law has strong day and evening divisions. Its curriculum includes specialty concentrations, joint-degree programs and LLM offerings. A wide range of nationally ranked clinical and legal practice skills programs complement internships and moot court competitions that provide students with experiential opportunities. Suffolk University is comprised of the Law School, College of Arts & Sciences and Sawyer Business School.

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