Fresh Causes for Excitement at the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship
By Joseph Holt
This autumn brings both beautiful new colors in the foliage and fresh causes for excitement about our work in the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School. This promise of growing success in our continued work on behalf of low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs seeking economic self-sufficiency is especially welcome given the economic downturn our nation as a whole continues to experience.
One cause for excitement about our work during the coming year is our planned development of a sub-specialization in Intellectual Property law to complement our continued bread and butter work on general business matters. A significant number of our clients have IP needs, and a large number of our students have a strong interest in learning more about IP law and putting that knowledge to creative use on behalf of clients who are willing to work hard but are financially unable to secure legal services. Our development of an IP sub-specialization will enable us to serve a broader spectrum of our clients’ transactional needs and to enrich the educational and service experience of our students.
We are also excited about ramping up our involvement with Chicago Urban Enterprise, the student organization of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business formed specifically to work with us on behalf of our clients. Last year the business school students focused on the formation and development of the new organization. This year and beyond, we are looking forward to their assistance to our clients in such areas as finance, accounting, business plans and marketing. Since many of our students will also work collaboratively with business leaders after graduation from law school, it is also a great educational benefit for them to have the opportunity to work jointly with business school students while still in school.
New clients like Joshua Leith provide further cause for excitement about our work. Josh started working in the warehouse of a large commercial moving company in the Chicago area just after high school graduation and now plans to start his own residential moving company. We have helped Josh decide on and form the best legal entity for his business. We will now help him navigate through the convoluted regulatory passageways standing between his dream of founding a thriving business enterprise and membership in the Illinois Commerce Commission, a required regulatory step in becoming an operational moving company. Those passageways appear far less daunting for entrepreneurial clients like Josh when they are accompanied by our exceptionally bright, motivated and determined University of Chicago law students.
The reality of inner-city poverty and its attendant problems can be overwhelming when considered as a whole. But we will continue to help solve those problems one successful and confident entrepreneur at a time. And our prospects for success in this important work are bright indeed.
Joseph Holt is director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School.