Entrepreneurial Law Clinic


 

 


Mission


The Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (ELC) provides law students with practical experience in transactional law while offering valuable legal services without charge to local startups lacking access investor resources. The Clinic's clients include graduate  students, professors, local entrepreneurs, and startup companies. Third-year Colorado Law students staff the Clinic during the academic year under the joint  supervision of a full-time clinician and experienced attorneys from top law  firms in Boulder and Denver. Students interact directly with clients to provide  legal advice on a wide range of business-law issues including entity formation, intellectual property, employment, and contracts. By assisting entrepreneurs  when they need help the most, the ELC provides Colorado Law students hands-on  opportunities to make a difference in the community. The ELC pursues complementary student and client goals:



  • Provide a rigorous and practical educational experience by serving as an inspiration for students interested in transactional law

  • Promote ethical values in transactional lawyers

  • Provide outreach that connects to communities outside the law school and serves clients that would otherwise remain under-served by the practicing bar

Clients


ELC clients include Front Range entrepreneurs, startup companies, students, and CU faculty. The Clinic also assists in the process of commercializing  University-developed technology by representing faculty members and companies working with the CU's Technology Transfer Office.                              


Representative Clients:



"The ELC helped assess and execute the legal documents that our growing company needed to protect ourselves. We worked with two detail-oriented, passionate teams; it was very hard to believe that they were law students! Most importantly, they helped shuttle our trademark documents through the USPTO - a daunting feat for a startup of two. If it wasn't for them, our name/brand could very well still be in purgatory. We'd recommend the ELC to any startup business in Colorado!"


                                                           - Meg Meyer, Co-Founder of The Bear & The Rat


 


"The ELC helped us get a rock-solid legal foundation when we didn't have resources to spare, and the experience of working with the law students was really rewarding.


  - Nate Abbott, Co-Founder of Everlater


"The ELC was tremendously helpful in providing a strong starting point for which we have been able to grow. The Clinic was incredibly valuable help when time and resources are so in demand."                   


  - Andrew Pudalov, President of RUSH BOWLS


"The ELC helped UniversityParent in a countless number of ways, including auditing our existing legal documents, drafting agreements, and making sure that we were in good standing. I'm so thankful for their support.


 -Sarah Schupp, Founder of UniversityParent.com




  • Clinic students helped two University of Colorado researchers form an entity committed to catalyzing renewable fuels and chemicals that are environmentally friendlier than petroleum-based products. The company has since received funding from two Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms and now has an exclusive University of Colorado license to move forward with its technology.


Scope


The ELC is a graded two-semester course (four credit hours  for the year). The clinic is limited to 12  students. Class time is divided between selected topic disccussions (often with expert guests), and client interaction and work product.  Students are supervised by the ELC Professor in collaboration with generous oversight from attorneys in the Boulder and Denver communities. Students  work directly with clients to provide advice, draft documents, and research legal  issues.


Type of Legal Assistance


ELC exposes students to legal issues often faced by young  entities, such as entity formation, financing, employment agreements, and exit  strategies. See a list of Legal Issues Handled by ELC.
Representative projects and  initiatives include:



  • Clinic students assisted a client who built a Denver-based business around a dessert recipe from her Mexican village. The Clinic helped the client form a business entity and develop a viable intellectual property strategy around the secret process for creating her products.

  • Each year clinic students lead community outreach presentations to classes of Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs. Presentations concern how to select and form a legal entity when starting a business. Students work with the clinic supervisor to develop and refine their presentations, then deliver the presentation through a Spanish speaking translator.

Enrolling in the ELC


The Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (especially the academic-year  ELC) serves as a capstone transactional experience for law students.  Applications to the summer ELC and the academic-year ELC are collected each  spring in the weeks preceding registration for enrollment. The Registrar sends notice in March to rising 2L and 3L students with instructions for application. Qualified applicants are identified through an application process. Information is elicited in two broad areas:



  • Substantive course background. Applicants  are not required (and it is not desirable) to take only courses relevant to the ELC.  By enrollment time, however, applicant should have completed at least three  courses relevant to the ELC (for guidance on relevancy, see courses required  for the Entrepreneurial  Law Certificate) and, additionally, plan to take  additional relevant courses during the third year.

  • Demonstrated interest in  entrepreneurship, including:


    • Pursuit of the Entrepreneurial Law  Certificate, a joint JD/MBA degree, or activity in campus entrepreneurship  through the Silicon Flatirons Center, the New Venture Challenge, the Deming Center, Startup Colorado or other entrepreneurship-oriented organizations; and/or

    • Relevant personal and professional  experience such as internships, externships, clerkships, or experience as part  of start-up or emerging business.

The  academic-year ELC typically admits 12 qualified students. Rising 3Ls are  admitted to the academic-year ELC based on written applications. Selection of qualified applicants is completed via the bid-point system (ties by lottery system). Qualified  applicants who do not directly get entry to the course are placed on a wait  list.


The  summer ELC typically admits 6-8 students each year. Rising 3Ls are given  priority into the summer ELC and rising 2Ls are admitted to the summer ELC on a  case-by-case basis as space permits.


Form Confidentiality and Inventions Assignment Agreement


The  ELC thanks Cooley  LLP for providing a  Form Confidentiality and Inventions  Assignment Agreement.  The Invention Assignment Agreement is provided for  informational purposes.  It should be helpful for companies considering  whether to enter into an agreement with employees to specify certain terms of  employment, including transfer of intellectual property ownership to a  company.  Form documents like this one require tailoring to specific  circumstances in order to achieve intended legal efficacy.  Please  note: this document is provided for informational purposes.  It is  advisable that you work with an attorney before using this or any other form  document.  Colorado Law, Cooley LLP, and the ELC are not responsible for  any use of this document.