“The incubator concept is spreading like wildfire,” said Fred Rooney, who developed the first incubator program at CUNY Law School in New York, and who helped start the incubator programs at both Thomas Jefferson and California Western schools of law.
The latest incubator program Rooney has established is in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, where he is doing a Fulbright Scholarship – the first in Latin America and the first outside the U.S.
On Monday January 28, Rooney brought three Dominicans to San Diego to visit the Center for Solo Practitioners, TJSL’s incubator program, which has been in operation since November 1. The visitors and the lawyers from the CSP met in a round table session to learn about each other’s programs, with TJSL alumnus and solo practitioner Ben Aguilar '11 acting as the translator.
“San Diego is now an international hub for incubators, having two incubator programs,” said Rooney, whose program in Santo Domingo is being funded by the U.S. State Department.
The incubator in Santo Domingo is focusing on gender violence as well as serving the LGBT community there. Two Dominican law students, Emanuel Alcántara Alfonce and Luis Sosa Brea have been instrumental in setting up the program in Santo Domingo and Brigida Melo, a recent law school graduate will be directing the program.
“This is a great opportunity for people about to graduate,” said Sosa. “It is also giving back to the community,” he added, referring to the Santo Domingo center’s mission of providing access to justice for people who can’t afford lawyers.
That is the same mission as TJSL’s incubator program, headed by Professor Lilys McCoy, who was pleased to host the Dominican delegation.
“It was inspiring to see how the vision of post-graduate legal education had been embraced by these highly motivated and energetic young lawyers from the Dominican Republic,” said Professor McCoy.