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Access to Law Initiative

California Western offers a special program for students and alumni planning to pursue solo or small firm practice.


About ALI

The Access to Law Initiative is designed to offer tools and training to alumni who want to enter solo or small firm practice. As a member of ALI, solo attorneys get help with launching a successful practice while also providing pro bono legal services to underserved populations in the greater San Diego area.

How Does ALI Work?

Program Overview

  • Typically, 20 new ALI members are accepted to the program each year.
  • Each attorney owns and operates an independent law firm.
  • Newly admitted ALI members take part in a formal 18-month training program.
  • Members receive formal practical training in topics like marketing, networking, client development, business planning, practice, case management and finances.
  • New members have access to a network of more than 100 ALI alumni, along with vendor resources.
  • ALI attorneys agree to provide 100 hours of pro/low bono service per year, through volunteering with legal organizations, including ALI Legal Clinics.

Prospective member qualifications

  • 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 practice)
  • Have graduated from California Western School of Law within the last five years (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.


In alignment with our mission to increase access to legal services in underserved communities, ALI hosts four free legal clinics per month. Member attorneys provide legal consultations on a wide range of legal matters at these clinics.

Neighborhood General Legal Clinic

Location: The LGBT Center – 3909 Centre Street, San Diego, CA 92103

Hours: 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month (excluding holidays). Currently by appointment only due to Covid-19. (Call 619-515-1511)

Neighborhood Business Law Clinic

Location: The San Diego Law Library – 1105 Front Street, San Diego, CA 92101

Hours: 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month (excluding holidays). (By appointment only, call 619-515-1511)

Access to Law Initiative

If you are interested in applying or learning more about the Access to Law Initiative, contact ALI Director, Matthew A. Lab.

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.

Contact Us
350 Building, 2nd Floor
San Diego, CA 92101