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UNC Chapel Hill Law School Receives $1.53 Million Gift
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Summary: The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Law received a generous gift to help establish a new entrepreneurship program.

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Law announced the donation of $1.53 million to their school in order to establish a new entrepreneurship program. The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust gave the gift to the law school to support a rigorous, hands-on training program for the next generation of public-spirited lawyers while also filling in the gaps of the state’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, according to the school’s announcement.


UNC School of Law dean and Arch T. Allen Distinguished Professor Martin H. Brinkley said, “We are thrilled and inspired by the investment in the education of Carolina students that the Kenan Trust and the people of North Carolina, through their representatives, are making. Clinical education geared toward organizational clients, and the business and social entrepreneurs who establish them, is important to large numbers of our students. The new entrepreneurship program will help Carolina Law embrace its mission by fulfilling [the] dual goals of teaching and service. With this generous gift from the Kenan Trust and additional support from the state, we will be able to provide an invaluable experiential learning opportunity for approximately 30 students a year while serving several times that number of for-profit and non-profit entrepreneurial ventures each year.”

The North Carolina General Assembly also donated $465,000 in recurring funds to help support the program, which will serve business and social enterprise entrepreneurs on the Chapel Hill campus and at North Carolina State University. The program partners with UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, NC State University’s Poole College of Management.

The program aims to address the most consistent problem for startups – lack of access to legal counsel. Early-stage businesses and nonprofits have limited resources, making finding legal advice hard to find. Too often, these entrepreneurs end up forgoing legal advice because of this.

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The state saw the importance of a program like this and decided to help support it with a $465,000 appropriation. House Speaker Tim Moore said, “Connecting the world-class legal community at Carolina with business professionals in the startup economy is a win-win approach to higher education that will prepare law students to succeed and provide valuable legal resources for emerging companies in our state’s rapidly growing economy.”

William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust executive director Douglass Zinn added, “The Kenan Trust has always focused on the needs of the communities it serves and education is the foundation. We recognize that student education doesn’t just happen in the classroom and we are excited to support the entrepreneurship program that will train law students while strengthening North Carolina communities and the state’s economy.”

The donations will support three legal clinics that will be linked together. The clinics will be a for-profit ventures clinic, an intellectual property clinic, and the existing Community Development Law Clinic. Each clinic will have a full-time faculty member supervising eight to ten students each semester.

Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP partner Larry Robbins noted, “This gift and challenge from the Kenan Charitable Trust will catapult UNC School of Law onto the cutting edge of legal education. From my own experience representing clients in mergers and acquisitions and startups, there is a great need for legal advice at the earliest stages. My hat is off of the Kenan Trust and the North Carolina General Assembly for recognizing this need for an entrepreneurship institute and for funding it.”

Do you think these clinics will do enough to help more entrepreneurs in the area get the legal advice they need for their businesses? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about law school clinics, read these articles:




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