Helping Locals and Law Students? New Clinic Sounds Like a Winner

By Robyn Hagan Cain on April 16, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Entrepreneurship is all the rage these days. The idea of working for yourself, of building something, of creating new jobs. It’s very appealing.

It’s also good for the legal industry. After all, even the risk takers of the world need legal representation. That’s why it’s refreshing to see another law school training its students to respond to that demand for attorneys who can assist entrepreneurs.

This month, the Santa Clara University School of Law announced that it's launching the new Entrepreneur's Law Clinic, which will begin serving clients this summer. Laura Lee Norris, an alumna with extensive experience in start-up companies, has been named founding director.

Through the clinic, Santa Clara law students will counsel early-stage Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in legal interactions including business formation, financing, contracts, and intellectual-property transactions. Fees for the clinic's services have not yet been determined.

According to the school, the program will help both the entrepreneurial graduates of the University, as well the law students.

Initially, the clinic will represent entrepreneurs with some connection to Santa Clara University, such as alumni or students running start-up ventures. The clinic will serve the dual purposes of providing SCU-affiliated startups with high-quality, affordable legal help, and giving SCU's law students real-life exposure to legal issues that confront high-tech or other Silicon Valley companies.

Though the Santa Clara Entrepreneur's Law Clinic may be the newest clinic of its kind, it's certainly not the first. The University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, Colorado Law, and Northwestern Law are just a few of the many schools who have recognized the value of entrepreneurial law clinics.

Frankly, there's no better place for a startup-focused project than Silicon Valley, where everyone you meet is launching a business. Hopefully, other law schools around the country will take note and launch regionally-relevant clinics to meet local legal demands while training their students.

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