Thank you for applying for the services of the Business Innovations Legal Clinic (the Clinic). The Clinic provides transactional legal services free of charge to small businesses, nonprofits and entrepreneurs. It is comprised of students in their second or third year of law school, and a professor who is an experienced, licensed attorney. The students serve as the point person for your matter in all aspects and the professor oversees every piece of work the student completes for your case.
Because resources in the Clinic are limited, we select our client based on a number of factors listed below. It is not necessary for the client to meet all of the factors; rather, each matter will be evaluated based on the totality of circumstances in light of the items listed below.
Pedagogy. Does the potential client present a legal issue 1) that the Clinic has the capacity and expertise to address, and 2) that is consistent with the teaching goals of legal education under the standards set out by UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law and the American Bar Association?
Means. Does the potential client have the financial ability to hire private counsel for the matter in question? Or would such services be too costly so as to serve as an insurmountable roadblock in the client’s development?
Mission. Does the potential client’s work provide economic opportunities for the state or the region in a sustainable way? Does it create jobs? Does it provide a much-needed service? Does it support a local economy?
Impact. Does the potential client’s project provide a service or product that is already significant or that has the potential to be a significant, sustainable, economic driver in the region? Does the project provide a solution to a serious problem that holds back growth in the region?
Region. Is the potential client based in the Southeast US or intending on doing business and creating jobs in the region?
Availability of alternative legal services providers. Arkansas has the smallest number of attorneys per capita in the nation. Because of this, we aspire to be as mindful as possible so as to not take income opportunities from the lawyers in the state. At the same time, sometimes a potential client has a problem that local attorneys do not have the adequate resources to address. Is the client requesting a type of service that is not being met or will not likely be met by local private counsel or the legal services corporation?
Readiness. Although the Business Innovations Legal Clinic does not charge fees, many of the transactions the client is requesting have associated fees imposed upon the client by a federal, state, or other government agency. Because of this, the Clinic wants to ensure that the client is at a point where addressing the legal issues presented makes financial sense for the client. For instance, new organizations must pay filing fees that can be in the hundreds of dollars. Is the potential client at the point where she/he/it is ready to undertake the necessary legal steps requested? For instance, does the client have a sense of how it will operate and where it will receive funds in order to operate? For new businesses, is there a business plan or business canvas in writing that summarizes mission, goals, costs, and revenue? Is there a budget for one or more years of operation? Or, would the client benefit by seeking the assistance of other capacity-building services first? Would the potential client benefit from free or low-cost services from business consultants before undertaking legal steps which can be costly? (The Clinic can make referrals to the Arkansas Small Business Tech Development Center, the Small Business Association, or other free/low-cost capacity-building services.)
If you are starting a nonprofit, there is a readiness checklist at this link you can fill out that will help ensure you are ready for incorporation and the financial costs required by various public agencies.