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USF Law School Launches Free Legal Services for Young Entrepreneurs
The University of San Francisco School of Law has launched a new project called the Entrepreneurial Ventures Legal Services Project that aims to provide new entrepreneurs with free legal services. In the project, law students will be working under clinical faculty to provide startups with the range of legal expertise they need, but often fail to access due to shortage of funds.
The Entrepreneurial Ventures project is a collaboration between several clinics of the law school including Investor Justice, Employment Law, Internet and Intellectual Property, and Mediation clinics.
Speaking on the initiation of the project, USF Professor and Project Director Robert Talbot said, “Start-up companies are always unique. From the business plan and management team to the capital resources, the product, and the marketing …..”
The collaborating clinics work on different verticals. The Investor Justice Clinic works on business and securities legal issues; the Employment Law Clinic covers issues ranging from worker rights to employment discrimination; the Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Clinic works with trademarks, copyrights, patents and online business issues; and the Mediation Clinic works to resolve conflicts through alternative dispute resolution.
Talbot said “This experience helps students become practice-ready … to hit the ground running as transactional lawyers.”
Currently the new project for entrepreneurs is helping its first clients including a fitness venture and a group of filmmakers. Acceptance of clients is limited and based on several criteria including potential of becoming a sizable employer, potential of providing needed services to the community, financial needs, and the level of complexity of the project and its suitability for students. Nonprofit status is also one of the criteria used to weigh between clients.
Emphasizing the need of legal help to entrepreneurs, Talbot said, “Although San Francisco Bay Area entrepreneurs often have the next great idea, they often need legal expertise to put their business together effectively and within the law’s requirements.”