Fred Rooney, a 1986 graduate of the CUNY School of Law in New York and originator of the “legal incubator” concept, is the newest addition to the Advisory Board of the Integrative Law Institute. Fred has spent his entire professional life working to advance social justice in the United States and around the globe.
Meeting the Need for Practical Education in How to Run a Law Practice. In 2007, Fred spearheaded a powerful innovation in post-graduate legal education known as the “legal incubator” movement by launching the first-ever incubator program, a unique public/private partnership providing a network of support and resources for recent CUNY law graduates committed to increasing access to justice through their solo and small firm practices. That first incubator has served as a model for bar associations and law school faculty and administrators around the United States interested in designing their own post-graduate incubator programs. Through Fred’s efforts, there are now more than 60 independent legal incubators providing practical post-graduate training and education to recent law graduates across the United States.
Many Awards for Legal Incubator Concept. Fred’s pioneering work has earned him many awards, including: the 2010 Father Robert Drinan Award, conferred by the American Association of Law Schools, and the 2010 Louise M. Brown Award for Legal Access, conferred by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. The Brown Award recognizes innovative programs that meet the legal needs of those who do not qualify for legal aid, but cannot afford to pay for a private lawyer. In 2013, the American Bar Journal named Fred a “2013 Legal Rebel,” and recognized him as the “Father of Incubators.”
Bringing Legal Incubators to Other Nations. In 2013, Fred launched the first law school incubator outside the U.S., in the Dominican Republic, where he completed a 10-month Fulbright Fellowship. Now a member of the State Department’s roster of Fulbright Specialists, Fred recently launched the first legal incubator in Pakistan, and has plans to extend the model to Kenya and the Central African Republic in the near future, as well as continuing his work throughout the United States.
ILI welcomes Fred to our Advisory Board. We value greatly the knowledge he brings about serving communities with little or no access to justice, and we anticipate working with Fred on ideas for incorporating an integrative law perspective into the legal incubator movement.