1of9Acting dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law Gary Bledsoe, back row, celebrates the opening of the Legal Entrepreneurship Incubator wth NAACP Houston Executive Director Yolanda Smith, joins Taren Marsaw, Lashay Hopkins, Brittani Armstrong, Jessica Akiode, Sam Stolbun, Brandy Douglas, Marcus Esther, Chigozirim Nwaogwugwu, and NAACP Houston President James Douglas. The incubator will help seven recent law school graduates set up solo practices to serve the Third Ward in Houston.Photo: Earl Hudnall / Texas Southern Uuniversity Office of Marketing & Communications Most people who enter law school hope to make the world a better place by bringing justice to their community.
Then come the classes, the fierce competition and the bill for tuition. Dreams of bringing hope to the downtrodden are quashed by the reality that the downtrodden cannot pay enough to cover student loans.
Justice does not come cheap, and when most Americans cannot handle a $400 surprise bill, hiring legal counsel is out of reach. Legal aid programs try to help, but the demand for services is too high.
Gary Bledsoe knows these challenges better than most. He’s the president of the Texas NAACP , a renowned trial lawyer and the acting dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston.
“Those working-class individuals and those individuals that are middle class cannot afford legal representation,” he said.
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New law school graduates also face an uphill battle: “We have a number of really accomplished young people that need a leg up, that need some assistance, but who can really fill a void.”
Bledsoe took a lesson from the tech community and started an entrepreneurship incubator for community-minded law graduates who need help building successful solo practices.
To help finance the incubator, Bledsoe called an old law school buddy, Sam Stolbun, who made his fortune in commercial banking. To find office space, he contacted the Houston chapter of the NAACP.The incubator offers 18 months of professional support in a shared facility with regular seminars taught by industry experts. Bledsoe’s team has recruited professional mentors to […]