Press Release: LASOC Celebrates New Building at LEAP Incubator Launch Party and Ribbon Cutting

March 24, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           

SANTA ANA, CA (March 24, 2016) The Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) celebrates the opening of its new Lawyer Entrepreneur Assistance Program (LEAP) building, the OC Community Law Offices, at its LEAP Incubator Launch Party and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on April 4, 2016.

The event features guest speaker The Honorable Mark Juhas, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge and Chair of the Access to Justice Commission, and the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) President Todd Friedland, Master of Ceremonies, who will welcome the incoming 2016 LEAP class and provide the presentation of the Patricia Herzog Pro Bono Awards.

The new LEAP building serves as the incubator hub for the incoming class of lawyers. LEAP is a partnership between LASOC; Chapman University Fowler School of Law; University of California, Irvine School of Law; Western State College of Law; Whittier Law School; and the OCBA. New lawyers apply for the year-long program to practice law as part of LASOC’s incubator program.

Robert J. Cohen, LASOC Executive Director, believes the benefits of the LEAP program are three-fold. 1) Lawyers receive hands-on training, mentorship, and practical experience; 2) LEAP participants increase LASOC’s capacity to provide free legal services to its client community; and 3) Modest-means individuals who do not qualify for free legal services but are unable to pay prevailing market rates for legal services now have access to affordable legal assistance.

Fred Rooney, the founder of the first-ever legal incubator at the City University of New York School of Law, calls LEAP the “next wave” for its unique ability to bring together law schools and legal aid organizations. “We’ve created a prototype that can be replicated to reshape legal services for millions living in this country. It’s remarkable,” says Rooney.

Dean Pritikin of Whittier Law School notes, “[We are] proud to be working with LASOC to help prepare our graduates to pursue their dreams of representing clients, while at the same time helping them make their services affordable to the community.” In 2015, LEAP attorneys assisted over 600 litigants and represented over 300 clients, leading to 132 court decisions.

For more information about the LEAP program or about the LEAP Incubator Launch Party and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, contact Iris Ma at irisma@legal-aid.com or 714.571.5220.

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Editorial contact: Iris Ma, Director of Fund Development | 714.571.5220 | irisma@legal-aid.com

About Legal Aid Society of Orange County

Legal Aid Society of Orange County is a non-profit organization that provides civil services to low-income individuals and promotes equal access to the justice system. For over 55 years, LASOC has spread its services – advocacy, legal counseling, community education, and legal representation – throughout Orange County and southeast Los Angeles.