Entrepreneurship Law Clinic
The Entrepreneurship Law Clinic provides free legal services to entrepreneurs and small-business people throughout the State of Idaho. The services are performed by third-year law students who have limited licenses to practice law in Idaho and temporary registration numbers from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The Entrepreneurship Law Clinic (ELC) was established to provide third-year students with real-life experience handling transactional legal problems and to provide assistance to business owners and entrepreneurs in Idaho. More specifically, the ELC is designed to expose students to the following:
- Ethical issues involved in dual or multiple party representations.
- The value of a business plan in establishing owner expectations and providing consistent communications to the attorney and other business advisors.
- The business formation process – including filing timelines and communication with clients.
- Client intake – preparation and documentation
- The formation documents and their function, with particular attention to the fundamental ownership documents (e.g. the shareholder agreement, the operating agreement or the partnership agreement) that details owner rights and obligations.
- Intellectual property issues facing the new business, with exposure to trademark prosecution.
- The regulatory and contractual environment that impacts new and existing businesses.
- The value of a comprehensive legal “health” assessment to assist the new business in addressing contractual, regulatory, and other legal concerns.
Clients who are accepted by the ELC are required to sign a formal engagement letter. The most common assignments involve the formation of an appropriate business entity, preparation and review of confidentiality and employment agreements, trademark prosecution, and review of commercial leases.
Student Work Assignments
Client work is done by students under the close supervision of Professor Tim Murphy, a faculty member with substantial experience as corporate counsel with an international business.
No litigation or contested proceedings are handled by the ELC. The program is operated similar to a corporate law firm: the student participant and the faculty supervisor meet together with each prospective client; the student interviews the prospective client about the proposed venture or legal problem facing the client; the student prepares notes of the meeting and discusses with the supervisor whether the ELC should represent the client. If the supervisor and student decide to represent the client, the student prepares and sends an engagement letter to the client for their consideration. If the client elects to engage the ELC and signs the engagement letter, the student does all of the required research, drafting, and other client work under the guidance and supervision of the supervisor. When the engagement is complete, the student disengages the client from the ELC. Once a week all student participants and faculty supervisors meet as a group to review the accomplishments and challenges of the prior week and to discuss business client representation issues. Students also meet at least once a week with the supervisor to go over their existing client load and case plans.
ELC students are graded on work quality, time management, client management, and collaboration with their colleagues.
Contact: Tim Murphy, visiting associate professor of law, firstname.lastname@example.org