Building on IJ Clinic’s Success
This yearís IJ Clinic participants, from left to right, Administrative Assistant Trish Hill- Granberry, Tiffany Wong, August Stofferahn, Sandy Chou (a doctoral candidate), Andrew Chalache, Jennifer Myers, Cristina Buccola, June Tai, Colby Jenkins and IJ Clinic Director Joe Holt. Students not shown: Lindsay Androski, Lauren Cundick, Benjamin Fanger, Amy Grider, Deidra Ritcherson, Deneese Walia and Benjamin Yu.
By Patricia H. Lee
As the IJ Clinic on Entrepre-neurship at the University of Chicago Law School enters its fifth year, it continues to provide aspiring entry-level entrepreneurs free legal services and opportunities for eager law students to put into practice many of the vital legal and economic principles learned at U of C. Fifteen law students are currently participating and working with entrepreneurs on various types of businesses in the IJ Clinic and 23 students are enrolled in the law school companion class, Entrepreneurship & the Law.
The past year has been one of transition and excitement for the Clinic since I relocated to Washington, D.C., and Joe Holt became the new director. But what has been especially gratifying is that all the while, clients have been served and students have continued to participate—even as students and even some clients graduate. IJ Clinic students and staff continue to assist entrepreneurs to get results, and the entrepreneurs we serve continue to reap the fruits of their own labor. (One of the things that makes the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship unique is its emphasis on the establishment of more private-sector enterprises, rather than government-inspired projects.) As examples of this, Gwen Meeks was recently recognized by the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) and given the WBDC “Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year Rising Star Award” for her development of her bread pudding crunch product and her ability to successfully distribute this wonderful product to grocery markets both local and nationwide. Teia and Michael Bussie hosted their grand opening of a new shoe store on September 28 in Forest Park, Illinois, naming it “Shoes in the Park Boutique.” (This is the second shoe store client for the IJ Clinic, which also worked with “Alise’s” in Chicago.) Anna Fong has begun to grow her Fong fashion design company and amaze her customers throughout Chicago with her very artistic talent.
The second- and third-year law students continue to provide a range of transactional and regulatory legal services to start-up inner-city businesses. These services typically include: business formation, license and permit application, basic tax and regulatory compliance concerns, contract and lease creation, as well as landlord, supplier and lender negotiation and other legal activities involving business transactions. New this year is the growing involvement of University of Chicago Business School students who have formed a student organization named Chicago Urban Enterprise to address business needs of clients engaged at the IJ Clinic. We welcome all of the students in this endeavor and plan to feature business students in an upcoming issue of Liberty & Law.
Rest assured, entrepreneurship continues to blossom in the inner cities, and in fact IJ Clinic clients and entrepreneurs like them are rebuilding the inner city one business at a time. Especially in this era, we applaud those individuals who are choosing entrepreneurship as a way to create and maximize wealth, become self-sufficient and strengthen our communities. Through their work, America grows better every day.
Patricia H. Lee is IJ’s managing vice president and national director of clinical programs.