Access To Justice:
Lawyers as entrepreneurs: Filling the access to justice gap
Two young lawyer entrepreneurs have found their small firm
niche in Ohio’s access to justice gap.
Jacob Levine and Mindy Yocum, together Yocum Levine, are two
small firm practitioners who work with social entrepreneurs and social
enterprises in Columbus.
“We’re a social enterprise. Finding people who already help
people, and then helping them,” Levine said.
Yocum and Levine work with companies that hire employees who
face barriers to re-entering the job market and are having re-entrance issues.
They work with employers to set up legal clinics to evaluate employee needs. If
they qualify, employees are offered reduced rates for legal services, many
being domestic, landlord tenant, expungement, and sealing of records issues.
“Employers love this because it reduces the barriers of the
employees getting to work,” Levine said. “Now we’ve expanded to working with
the prison systems to start that process in advance. By the time they get out,
the child support issues and the licenses are in place, reducing those barriers
Levine is currently working with Hot Chicken Takeover, a new
Columbus eatery that hires employees who are re-entering the job market, and
food trucks, a segment that has issues with simple contracts, food and safety,
“The access to justice gap is the everyday person,” Levine
said. “It’s the working class, the mom with two kids and no job, trying to get
child support. Anybody who has a legal barrier and can’t figure out how to get
help with it. To me, that’s the gap. And access to legal services in general.”
So far they found that flat fees work best, and employers
tend to offset a portion of the cost for their employees. The flat fees model
is to scalable with the unbundling of legal services.
Yocum and Levine have mobile offices, a trend that continues
to rise among new attorneys. Levine runs his law practice from his Surface Pro
4 and currently works out of the Columbus Bar Association incubator.
“We’re very fast and very mobile, and that’s by design,”
The CBA offers office space to young attorneys who want to
fly solo, but want to stay safe while staying in line with malpractice insurance
coverage. The program assists lawyers with office space, practice management,
malpractice insurance coverage, and business development tools over a one-year
“At the end of the day it’s what companies need, and it’s
what people need,” Levine said. “If we’re doing our jobs right, the community
Read more about Yocum Levine from the Columbus Bar Association and The Metropreneur.