IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship: What We Do

The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship (IJ Clinic) provides free, comprehensive legal services to a select group of under-resourced small businesses. We support our clients’ goals to transform their companies and communities, and to inspire others who have big dreams and tiny budgets.  

Our clients receive in-depth counsel from the experienced attorneys at the IJ Clinic and teams of University of Chicago law students.  Our ideal clients are communicative, creative, and conscientious entrepreneurs who are excited about working with law students as they learn to advocate for entrepreneurs in Chicago and beyond.     

The IJ Clinic assists its clients on a wide variety of matters, including: 

  • Setting up the ownership structure of the business, such as agreements among co-founders, bylaws, and operating agreements 
  • Advising businesses on licensing requirements, zoning, and other business regulations 
  • Drafting and negotiating contracts, such as customer contracts, supplier agreements, and intellectual property licenses 
  • Planning out hiring and employment practices 
  • Planning expansions into new space, including zoning, leases, and other real estate matters 
  • Protecting trademarks and copyrights 

Note: The IJ Clinic does not litigate or draft patent applications. 


What does it take to be an IJ Clinic Client?

The IJ Clinic takes a holistic look at every applicant – the most basic requirements to be a client are as follows:

  1. Do you own a small business in Chicago with momentum to grow and make a difference in your family and the community? 
  2. Are you interested in working closely with the IJ Clinic to answer your legal questions? 
  3. Are the founders of the business under-resourced?  Specifically, are your household incomes for the year at or below 3 times the poverty line? 

If you answered yes to the above questions, please complete the questionnaire below. The more information you provide, the better we will be able to determine whether or not your business is a good fit for the IJ Clinic.

Please allow an estimated 15-20 minutes to complete this form. If we want to learn more about your business as a potential client, we will reach out to set up an interview.  Sadly, we cannot take on – or interview – all the wonderful entrepreneurs who contact us, so we may not reach out to you.  We are happy to provide you with a list of other resources in Chicago. If you have any questions, you can contact us at clinic@ij.org

IJ Clinic Prospective Client Questionnaire

Step 1 of 3

The following questions will ask you to share some basic details about your business
Business address(Required)
Please link a website, Facebook profile, or LinkedIn page if applicable.
How would you describe the current stage of your business?(Required)
Please include full-time positions, seasonal/part-time, contractors, etc.
Have you participated in an incubator, accelerator, cohort or other business services organization training program? Tell us about it! (2-3 sentences)
Do you have examples of changes you have made because of an advisor’s suggestions?