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UALR law school receives $1 million grant for Business Innovation Center

UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law

The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office has given a $1 million grant to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law to create a Business Innovation Clinic.

The new clinic will be the first in the state to focus on providing business law advice and services to small businesses, innovators, and nonprofit organizations.

“I am proud to play a part in helping to create the Business Innovation Clinic at the Bowen School of Law,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a UALR law school graduate. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and this clinic will allow students at Bowen the opportunity to directly help businesses grow and create more, better-paying jobs for Arkansans while protecting consumers.”

Bowen law students, under the supervision of an experienced business law attorney, will work with entrepreneurs in launching and building 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 potential entrepreneurs. Programming will focus on ways to navigate the many issues that challenge new enterprises.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Bowen students who are pursuing business law careers,” said Bowen Dean Michael Hunter 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’ nonlegal needs. Volunteer attorneys throughout the state will collaborate with the clinic. In this way, Bowen can support the efforts of Arkansas small business owners to bring their ideas to market, enjoy innovative 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,” Rogerson said.

Legal Clinic Director Kelly Browe Olson and Bowen Assistant Dean for External Relations Wanda Hoover worked closely with the Attorney General’s office to secure this grant.

The Business Innovation Clinic will be the law school’s sixth legal clinic. Other Bowen clinics include 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.