The University of Wisconsin Law School’s Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic provides free legal services to help entrepreneurs and small business owners realize their potential.
They collaborate with the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and more than a dozen of Wisconsin’s leading law firms.
Wide-Ranging Services Offered
Beyond offering a variety of legal services, the clinic maintains relations with accounting and business planning professionals to provide assistance. The range of services includes:
- Faculty Advising
- Business planning
- Entity selection and registration
- State and local business licenses
- Federal, state and local tax issues
- Financing documents
- Leases and other commercial contracts
- Employment agreements
- Trademark and copyright registration, provisional patent applications, and licensing agreements
- Intellectual property counseling regarding branding, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, freedom to operate, unfair competition, antitrust, publicity rights and privacy rights
A Guiding Light for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship plays a significant role in turning an invention or idea into a flourishing business. Yet the obstacles to starting or expanding a business often appear daunting.
What form should the business take? What’s the best way to move an idea out of a garage, dorm room or lab and into private space for commercial development? What financing options exist?
Jobs, business growth and economic vitality spring from the marketplace application of new ideas. Yet having an idea or scientific track record offers no guarantee of entrepreneurial success given the regulatory, tax, legal and human resource issues that accompany a business startup. Established companies manage these wide-ranging challenges with teams of executives and advisers - something beyond the reach of most small businesses.
The University of Wisconsin Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic works to fill the gap, combining the counsel of third-year Law School students experienced in business matters with advisory committee members knowledgeable in corporate structure, finance, intellectual property, tax, insurance and other legal issues common among new businesses. Participating students receive supervision from faculty and private sector lawyers. The clinical program also provides legal education on the role of lawyers in entrepreneurship, undertakes research on legal issues facing startup businesses and provides service to fledgling businesses free of charge.
Potential clients will be interviewed to evaluate their legal needs. Should the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic decide to provide legal services, a letter of engagement will be entered into between the client and clinic defining the scope of services. The clinic recognizes the diversity of legal issues confronting entrepreneurs and seeks to provide appropriate legal services necessary to assist the client in effectuating their business plan.
We begin our services with a core legal and business audit. Following the initial interview and evaluation of necessary services, we will determine if we can provide quality professional services. Applicants from University of Wisconsin faculty, staff and student researchers must also have already filed an Invention Disclosure Report with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), or be prepared to file one before we can accept you as a client.
At times we have a backlog of potential clients seeking our services. Our goal is to respond to potential clients within 90 days of receiving your application.