Bridging the Justice Gap
An innovative approach to legal access sponsored by the State Bar of Texas.
We want to fill that gap between the citizens’ need for justice and our profession’s need for employment opportunity—in brief, to meet the need for justice with the need for opportunity.2016-2017 State Bar President Frank Stevenson
Frequently Asked Questions
Attorneys with fewer than five years’ experience and an interest in building a practice targeted to low- and modest-income Texans should apply. You should have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, a willingness to explore new technology, and a desire to innovate with new practice models.
Follow the instructions under the Apply Now tab to submit your applicant information, interest statements, and resume. We recommend you give thoughtful consideration to your interest statements. We have allowed for the use of up to 500 words per submission box. Applications are being accepted now for the cohort that begins March 1, 2018.
Your interest statements should include any information about yourself that illustrates why you would be a great candidate for the TOJI program. Why are you interested in participating? What do you hope to achieve through the program? What would you contribute to the cohort of participating attorneys?
No, part of participation in the TOJI program will be assistance in formulating a business plan. We are more interested in finding applicants with a strong entrepreneurial spirit and interest in serving modest-income clients than finding applicants who have it all mapped out. But if you already have an idea in mind for your practice, feel free to include it in your interest statements.
The TOJI program launched on April 3, 2017 with its inaugural cohort. Ten more attorneys joined the program’s second cohort in October 2017. We are currently accepting applications for the third cohort of TOJI participants. Individuals selected for the third cohort will start on March 1, 2018.
Applications for the second cohort will be reviewed after the July 7, 2017 deadline. Applicants selected for further consideration will be contacted by the TOJI staff to schedule an in-person interview. Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible so that they can make the necessary arrangements to begin on October 2, 2017. Applicants will be notified no later than September 1, 2017, whether they have been accepted into the second cohort.
Each cohort will consist of no more than ten attorneys. We anticipate a new cohort of ten attorneys will enter the 18-month program every six months for a maximum capacity of thirty attorneys.
TOJI participants are required to be in residence in our Austin office. After the 18-month program, participants may relocate their practice wherever they wish.
Participants in the TOJI program are encouraged to select and build their law firm around their desired areas of practice. Participating attorneys may pursue litigation or transactional work in civil and criminal matters.
The TOJI program will provide legal research and practice management software, mentorship and training, internet access, and continuing legal education for the duration of the program. In addition, TOJI will provide office space without charge for the first six months of the program; after that, participants will contribute $300 per month. Malpractice insurance, phone service, and all other expenses will be the responsibility of the participants.
Yes, all participating attorneys are required to carry malpractice insurance, at their expense, while they are participants in the TOJI program. The State Bar has negotiated malpractice insurance at a special rate for TOJI participants.
Participating attorneys will be required to provide at least 100 hours of pro bono legal services during their first twelve months in the program and to track the hours spent proving services to low-and modest-income clients throughout the 18-month program. In addition, TOJI participants are committed to establishing practices that focus substantially on serving the legal needs of low- and modest-income clients. All legal fees earned by participants are kept as revenue for their businesses.
No, participants will establish independent practices and will not be employed by TOJI or the State Bar of Texas. TOJI does not provide participants with a job, a salary, or a stipend. The program provides an opportunity for recently-licensed Texas attorneys to start their own law firms while receiving training and support.
A part time commitment to the TOJI program is not advisable. The time and energy necessary to build a sustainable solo law practice generally requires a full time commitment; although, many new solos supplement their law firm revenue with contract projects in the very beginning stages of building their businesses.
Our next live Information Session will take place in Austin at the Texas Law Center on Wednesday, December 6, 2017. A reception will begin at 5:15 p.m. follow by a program from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. We invite you to use the contact form below for additional questions or to be added to an interest list.