Law Students in the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship Earn Credit Where Credit is Due
By Patricia Lee
Representing aspiring entrepreneurs and helping them navigate the regulatory arena is a worthy cause. And beginning in the spring semester of 2000, students representing entrepreneurs through the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship will be rewarded with academic credit by the University of Chicago Law School. Last fall, the faculty voted to approve the credit.
Law students now may receive up to six clinical credits for their efforts and may enroll in a clinical course for a minimum of two and maximum of six quarters. They may receive up to three credits in one quarter, requiring that they work an average of five hours weekly for each credit hour earned quarterly.
“I’m working in the IJ Clinic to help make the law accessible to entrepreneurs and to help them meet their business goals,” said Brenna Findley, a second-year law student who is one of 15 students currently in the IJ Clinic. “The IJ Clinic offers a great opportunity to put abstract classroom principles into practice. It allows me to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams of owning and growing their own business.”
Findley said, “For the spring quarter, I have already signed up to participate in the IJ Clinic for two credit hours. Although I will work on a variety of matters, I especially look forward to working with entrepreneurs like Eddie Nwosu, who owns a taxi affiliation company that looks to help other drivers own their own cabs.”
Under the supervision of IJ Clinic staff attorneys, Findley helped Nwosu and other taxicab affiliation companies prepare responses to pleadings filed in a regulatory proceeding before the Department of Administrative Hearings in Chicago. She also has helped with some transactional work for the new organization “Chicago Center for Taxi Drivers,” which will address social problems and other issues facing taxi drivers.
Nwosu, an immigrant from Nigeria, began driving a cab in 1986 in order to put himself through college at the University of Illinois and graduate school at Roosevelt University. Driving a taxi gave him the opportunity to pay his school fees and set his own schedule, enabling him to achieve his educational ambitions. Building on his own cab driving experience and educational background, he founded Metrojet in July of 1998, a company that provides taxicab services to customers in the Chicago area. He now oversees a growing fleet of 7 cabs.
He appreciated the assistance he received from the University of Chicago students.
“The IJ Clinic has helped me to concentrate on my business,” he recently said. “The Department of Consumer Services’ many rules and regulations have made it very difficult for young companies like mine to thrive. Without the IJ Clinic, my company and other small taxi companies would have been forced to close long ago. Thanks to the IJ Clinic, we are still in business.”
Patricia H. Lee is director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship.