Pro Bono Event for Startups Set for March at Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub
The Entrepreneurial Law Project will pair local attorneys and law students with startups needing legal assistance as they form their companies.
Two U of A divisions are joining forces this spring to offer a pro bono legal event to help entrepreneurs navigate the legal environment while forming their companies.
The U of A School of Law is partnering with the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation for the Entrepreneurial Law Project, a one-day event in March pairing local attorneys and law students with startups needing legal assistance establishing organizational structure and documentation.
"With this event, we are hoping to connect founders with attorneys who can help them avoid confusing or problematic structures and give them a clean starting point to carry out their objectives," said Will Foster, an associate professor in the law school and co-organizer for the event.
This is a limited participant event with applications open until Jan. 18. Entrepreneurs who qualify and are selected will be partnered with a team of law students and a local supervising attorney on March 4 at the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub.
The team will meet with the entrepreneur for about an hour at the Hub with breakfast to be provided. Subject to the complexity of the issues addressed and the attorney's schedules, entrepreneurs can expect to have the materials by early April.
Cost is the glaring issue halting entrepreneurs from obtaining legal counsel, according to Rachel Sullivant, the associate director for the McMillon Innovation Studio, a 2022 U of A School of Law graduate and co-organizer behind the project.
"Because of this, many founders will either delay obtaining legal services, use cheap online legal platforms or attempt to do things on their own — all of which can cause greater harm down the road," Sullivant said.
Sullivant said the event could serve as a proof of concept toward establishing a program jointly offered by the law school and the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
"Clearly there is an expanding need for legal services for entrepreneurs as this region draws more interest and investment," Foster said. "So, law students and attorneys with experience representing founders are going to be well-positioned to play an important role in the development of the NWA business ecosystem."
- Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center
- Cascade Law Group
- Conner & Winters
- E for All Northwest Arkansas
- Hall Estill
- Kutak Rock LLP
- Mitchell Williams Law
- Quattlebaum, Grooms and Tull
- Right to Start
- Rose Law Firm
- U of A Student Bar Association
- U of A School of Law Business Law Society
- Wright, Lindsey, & Jennings
The legal services performed in connection with this pro bono event are not provided by the U of A. These are volunteer services provided by local attorneys with the support of law students at the School of Law. The U of A does not endorse any particular attorney.
About the School of Law: The law school offers a competitive J.D. as well as an advanced LL.M. program, which are taught by nationally recognized faculty. The school offers unique opportunities for students to participate in pro bono work, externships, live client clinics, competitions, and food and agriculture initiatives. The school strives to identify, discuss, and challenge issues of race, color, ethnicity, and the impact(s) they have on students, faculty, and staff members in an effort to achieve a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community. From admitting the Six Pioneers who were the first African American students to attend law school in the South without a court order to graduating governors, judges, prosecutors, and faculty who went on to become President of the United States and Secretary of State, the law school has a rich history and culture. Follow us at @uarklaw.
About the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation creates and curates innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students across all disciplines. Through the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio, Startup Village, and Greenhouse at the Bentonville Collaborative, OEI provides free workshops and programs — including social and corporate innovation design teams, venture internships, competitions and startup coaching. A unit of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Division of Economic Development, OEI also offers on-demand support for students who will be innovators within existing organizations and entrepreneurs who start something new.
Brandon Howard, communications and social media specialist
Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
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