Small Business Legal Clinic

NOTE: Please read carefully as this course description contains differing information depending on the semester of interest (Fall, Spring, Summer).

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings between interns and clients may occur by video or telephone conference.

Small Business Legal Clinic- Professor Susan Felstiner

  • Course Type: Highly Specialized & Experiential
  • Credits: 3
  • Enrollment Limit: Determined by Registrar
  • Description:

    The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) provides “hands on” legal training to second and third-year law student interns.

    Under the supervision of the clinical professor, interns take the lead role in representing low-income small businesses and nonprofit organizations in transactional matters. Many of the SBLC clients are immigrant, women and minority owned businesses, and would not otherwise have access to legal services. By working with clients to achieve their goals, interns promote economic justice and contribute to the sustainable economic development of the community.

    Interns represent the client from the first interview to the end of the attorney-client relationship. Interns learn to conduct the initial client interview, problem solve, research client specific issues, draft client documents, counsel clients, create deliverables to meet their clients’ goals, end the representation, and close the file. Transactional lawyering is preventative lawyering. Interns learn to use legal tools to manage business risks. Typical client matters include entity selection and formation, contract drafting, regulatory compliance, corporate and nonprofit governance, trademark and copyright registration, and employee policy drafting.

    The SBLC operates as a law firm. Interns bill time and maintain client files. Interns also participate in community outreach events or other public speaking engagements designed to educate and assist small businesses.

    The course is a combination of office hours at the SBLC offices in downtown Portland and seminar classes. The seminars cover substantive law as well as practical skills, and provide interns opportunities to discuss their client matters with other interns.

  • Fall or Spring Semester: Twice a week, interns work at the SBLC for four hours (a total of eight hours per week). Interns also attend a seminar on Fridays from 9:00am to 11:00am at the law school or other locations determined by the clinical professor.

    Orientation will occur during the first week of classes. Interns will meet individually with the clinical professor on Monday, have the first orientation during office hours on Wednesday and a second orientation on Friday from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Orientation provides the information and skills training necessary for interns to meet their first client as soon as possible. Attendance at Orientation is mandatory. Interns with a regularly scheduled Friday class that conflicts with the all-day Orientation must coordinate with the clinical professor to make up the Orientation.

    The SBLC divides office hours into two sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays. Students should register for their preferred office hours.

    Monday/Wednesday: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

    Monday/Wednesday: 1:00 am to 5:00 pm

    NOTE: The SBLC strives to be accessible to all students, including evening students. If a student has a conflict with the set office hour schedules, please contact the clinical professor. Alternative office hour schedules may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Summer Session: Interns work in the SBLC offices at least four days a week from 9:00am to 4:00pm, with a half hour break for lunch. Interns typically work Monday through Thursday. The weeks of Memorial Day and Juneteenth, interns work Tuesday through Friday. During these hours, interns and the clinical professor also meet for seminars.
  • Enrollment: Students register for the SBLC as they would for any other class. The SBLC does not have an application process. The SBLC is a popular class with limited enrollment. Early registration is encouraged. Since attendance is mandatory, students should select a schedule that will permit regular and timely attendance. The Registrar will maintain a waitlist for each section. 
  • Evaluation Method: Credit/no credit based on representation of clients, adherence to the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct and clinic rules, attendance, seminar participation and written assignments.
  • Additional Information: The SBLC website has additional information about the SBLC., The SBLC’s address is 333 SW 5th Ave, Suite 400, Portland OR 97204.

  • Prerequisite: Business Associations I (may be waived with clinical professor approval)
  • Capstone: no
  • WIE: yes