Where does a local entrepreneur on a slim budget turn for legal advice? For John Aikman, owner of the newly launched company Home Grown Cow, the answer is UW Law School's Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic.
The new clinic, which was developed by UW law school professors Eric Englund and Anne Smith, is profiled in a recent State Bar of Wisconsin article. Exemplifying the school's "law-in-action" philosophy, the clinic helps students gain practical experience and assists entrepreneurs in bringing their ideas to the marketplace.
"The clinic started in 2009 with eight students, no clients, and no space," Englund said. "But we hit the deck running, and today we have 16 students, a backlog of clients, and extremely active participation from the private bar."
Englund says partnership with private bar members is instrumental, and stresses that the clinic does not compete with law firms or private attorneys.
"It's critical to our operation that we not compete with lawyers," Englund said. "We tend to serve clients that do not otherwise have access to the private bar because of financial reasons but will have access once they can move into the mainstream of business."
Aside from clients like Home Grown Cow, the clinic has helped a children's sports charity, an aquaponics farm, an energy drink business, a mobile phone applications company, and a start-up business that developed a cooking stove for use in third world countries, among others. And its success shows no signs of slowing.
"Based on the feedback we get from students, clients, and private bar members, there's clearly room to expand the program," Englund said. "The issue becomes one of funding. The good news is that people see the value of this program to lawyer and entrepreneurial development. So we are confident that additional funding streams will present themselves."
To learn more about the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic, click here.
To read the original State Bar of Wisconsin article, click here.
Submitted by UW Law News on April 6, 2011
This article appears in the categories: In the Media