The Small Business Legal Clinic provides business transactional legal services to low-income small and emerging businesses. The SBLC reduces legal barriers for individuals who have been historically disenfranchised, such as people of color, women and immigrants.
The Small Business Clinic serves over 300 clients a year with transactional business legal matters through our four programs.
- Clients placed in our Pro Bono Project work directly with local business attorneys who are matched according to the area of expertise. The program is a year-round program and there is a wait list to meet with an attorney.
- The Intern Program is staffed by clinical law professors and upper-division law students who receive credit for their clinic work. The program is open to new clients at the beginning of each semester.
- The Rural Program, explained in this video, provides legal assistance for businesses in towns of less than 35,000 people. We are actively working with partners to provide services to Native entrepreneurs both on reservations and in rural areas.
- The Staff Attorney Program provides legal assistance for nonprofit organizations and business clients who need immediate assistance.
History of the Clinic
The SBLC opened its doors after receiving a $100,000 grant from the City of Portland and reduced-cost office space in the Portland Development Commission’s building downtown. Since that time, the SBLC has received support from several large law firms, banks and other companies, private foundations, and individuals.
In 2013, the SBLC started the Staff Attorney program and increased client service in the Pro Bono Project.
In 2017, the SBLC became the only USPTO-certified program in Oregon that provides expedited trademark and patent service to clients.
In 2019, the SBLC opened a new Rural Program serving Native and other rural entrepreneurs.
Since opening its doors in 2006, Lewis & Clark Law School’s Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) has provided business transactional legal advice to more than 3000 new and emerging businesses. Seventy-five percent of our clients are businesses owned by women, recent immigrants and people from communities of color.
In addition to providing practical experience for Lewis & Clark law students, the SBLC provides its much-needed services to small businesses who otherwise would not have access to an attorney. By providing these crucial services, the SBLC helps new businesses get started off on the right foot, and helps existing businesses take their business to the next level.