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A group of Access to Law Initiative students

 Access to Law Initiative

Many California Western students plan to enter solo or small firm practice after graduation. In 2012, we became the first law school on the west coast to launch an “incubator program” to help graduates who want to follow that career path. It is a key element in the path of many of our students toward attaining a satisfying career.

The Access to Law Initiative (ALI) not only helps those graduates, but it brings affordable and pro bono assistance to people who lack access to legal services.

Since 2012 the program has grown to more than twice its original size and has become a national model.  ALI includes lawyers who practice in a wide range of areas of law, so it serves a diverse group of our alumni and also can meet the needs of clients with a variety of kinds of legal issues.

ALI attorneys provide affordable and pro bono legal services in many areas of law including:

  • Bankruptcy and Business Transactions
  • Civil Litigation
  • Consumer Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Elder Law and Veterans Benefits
  • Employment and Labor
  • Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts
  • Family Law
  • Homelessness and Housing
  • Immigration
  • Nonprofit and Small Business
  • Personal Injury
  • Real Estate


The Access to Law Incubator (ALI) is a program created exclusively for graduates of California Western School of Law who intend to pursue solo practice.

The mission of ALI is to empower entrepreneurial and public service minded California Western School of Law alumni to make a living while making a difference. While serving the community’s legal needs, ALI provides members with critical training and post-graduate education.

The goals of ALI are two-fold: 1) assist new solo attorneys with launching successful legal businesses; and 2) provide pro bono and affordable legal services to underserved populations within the greater San Diego community.


ALI attorneys work together in two different downtown office locations. Each attorney owns and operates an independent law practice. Currently, there are 14 active ALI members and more than 25 ALI alumni. The program is 18-months in duration with 12-months spent in-residence at one of the office locations and 6-months of maintenance support.  

ALI offers assistance in the form of practical training on subjects vital to a successful business like marketing, advertising, networking, practice management, business planning, finances, and technology. Other benefits of ALI include affordable office space, a community of other solo attorneys, and vendor resources like research and case management software.

In exchange for membership in ALI, member attorneys agrees to provide 100 hours of pro bono publico service each year by volunteering with legal service organizations, community clinics, and other nonprofits.

To be considered for the program, you must:

  • Demonstrate a strong interest in solo practice and commitment to public service and access to law
  • Possess an entrepreneurial spirit and be flexible and adaptable to change
  • Work well in intimate settings with a diverse group of individuals
  • Be a member of The State Bar of California in good standing at the start of the program (those who have taken the CA bar exam and are awaiting exam results may apply; acceptance into the program will be conditioned on passing the bar exam and being admitted to practice)
  • Have graduated from California Western School of Law in 2010 or later (the program is intended for new attorneys; however, exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis)
  • Be willing to commit 18-months to membership in ALI

Applications for the January 2016 ALI Cohort will be accepted from October 15, 2015 – December 1, 2015. An information session to learn more about ALI will be held at California Western on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 5:30pm.


If you are interested in applying or learning more about the Access to Law Incubator, please contact Anne-Marie Rábago, Director of ALI and Graduate Career Advisor.

Anne-Marie Rabago, Esq.
Director, Access to Law Initiative (ALI)
p: 619-525-7091
Anne-Marie Rábago

Disclaimer: Each of the attorneys in ALI maintains an independent law practice, which is separate from each of the other lawyers and law practices in the program and from California Western School of Law. Retention of one attorney is not retention of any of the other attorneys, nor of the school.