The UALR William H. Bowen School of Law has received a $1 million grant from the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office to create a Business Innovation Clinic at the law school.
“We are excited about this grant and how it will benefit the Arkansas small business community and help our students develop their business law skills,” said Bowen Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz. “Professor Kelly Browe Olson, the Legal Clinic Director, authored a very detailed, thoughtful proposal, and Assistant Dean for External Relations Wanda Hoover did a great job working closely with the Attorney General’s office.”
The Business Innovation Clinic will be the law school’s sixth legal clinic. Other Bowen clinics have a dispute resolution focus, including a mediation clinic, a clinic focusing on family law matters for clients based in Arkansas’ Delta region, a low income taxpayer clinic funded by the IRS, a consumer protection clinic, and a general litigation clinic. This clinic will be the first clinic at Bowen and in the state to focus on providing business law legal advice and services.
Students enrolled in the Business Innovation Clinic, under the supervision of an experienced business law attorney, will work closely to serve the legal needs of small businesses, innovators, and non-profit organizations. The assistance will include working with entrepreneurs in launching and growing their businesses, negotiating their contracts with business partners, and protecting their ideas and innovations. In addition, the Clinic will offer educational programs for small business owners and those contemplating launching new businesses. Programming will target navigating the many issues that challenge new enterprises.
“This is an excellent opportunity for Bowen students who are pursuing business law careers,” said Dean Schwartz. “They will have the chance to counsel real clients and will have the satisfaction of seeing those clients thrive.”
The Clinic will also forge partnerships with community organizations that already serve small business owners’ non-legal needs and work with volunteer attorneys located throughout the state. In this way, Bowen can support the efforts of Arkansas small business owners to bring their ideas to market, enjoy creative successes, and create more jobs for their fellow Arkansans.
“This innovative clinic is a great demonstration of how a university can serve the needs of the private sector and support economic development,” said UALR Chancellor Andrew Rogerson. “By working directly with new entrepreneurs when they need expert help the most, this clinic will help strengthen Arkansas’ small business sector, which in turn will create Arkansas jobs and expand the state’s economic base.”