Small Business Legal Clinic Patent Program

The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) patent program provides experiential legal training to upper division student interns interested in patent law. Under the supervision of a patent attorney, interns take the lead role in the representation of low-income, small and emerging businesses and nonprofit organizations interested in patenting their invention. Interns learn to conduct the initial client interview, counsel clients on the patent process, draft provisional and non-provisional patents, conduct patent searches, and respond to United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) office actions. The SBLC is part of the USPTO law school clinic certification program. The USPTO grants interns limited recognition to practice before the USPTO. With the limited recognition, interns may gain experience answering Office Actions and communicating with patent examiners about applications.More about the USPTO program here:

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

The Small Business Legal Clinic is a 3 credit, Credit/No Credit, one semester course with no final examination or paper requirement. Interns may fulfill their WIE requirement. 

Interns work on client matters eight hours a week during their office hours.Interns consult with the clinical professor to determine the date and times of their office hours and seminars. Interns must commit to a consistent schedule for the semester. Interns also attend a two-hour weekly seminar with non-patent SBLC interns on Fridays from 9:00am to 11:00am. The seminars cover substantive legal topics as well as practical skills, and provide interns opportunities to discuss their client matters with other interns.

The weekly seminar is on Fridays from 8:30am to 10:25am at the law school. Outside reading or other preparation for the Friday seminars typically does not exceed three hours per week. The seminars cover substantive legal topics as well as practical skills, and provide interns opportunities to discuss their client matters with other interns. 

Orientation Week (Boot Camp):

The first week of classes is orientation week. In lieu of office hours, interns will meet individually with the clinical professor and attend two four-hour orientation sessions. The first session will be on Wednesday. Interns may choose to attend either the 9:00 to 1:00pm session or the 1:00pm to 5:00pm session. Interns will also attend a four-hour session on Friday from 9:00am to 1:00pm. The orientation sessions provide the information and skills training necessary for interns to meet their first client as soon as possible. Attendance at the orientation sessions is mandatory.Interns with regularly scheduled classes on Wednesdays and Fridays that conflict with the all-day Boot Camp should discuss the conflict with the clinical professor.

Student Evaluations: 

Interns are evaluated on their attendance and performance during their office hours, seminar participation, ability to incorporate and adjust to feedback from the clinical professor(s), and written assignments. Attendance at clinic sessions, Friday seminars, and orientation sessions is mandatory.

Application Process:

The SBLC patent program is by application only. Interns must be eligible to take the patent bar.

Selection Criteria: Interest in and commitment to patent law and taking the patent bar; year of study (graduating students given priority); lack of conflicts of interest with clinic clients; and ability to successfully complete course requirements.

Pre-Requisites/Co-Requisites: None, but we recommend that students take Patent Law and Policy and Patent Prosecution.

Required Application Materials:
• Cover Letter describing interest in the patent program, 
• Transcript (unofficial transcript is fine), and 
• Resume

Submit all materials in one portable document format (PDF) with your name in the title of the PDF. To assist us in determining potential client conflicts, the application materials should include, in either the cover letter or resume, all law related jobs and externships you have held and currently hold, and clinics in which you have enrolled.

Eligible to Apply: 2Ls, 3Ls

Submit applications via email to: Prof. Felstiner at

Application deadline: Determined each semester

Number of Students Accepted: 2 per semester


Lewis & Clark Law School’s Small Business Legal Clinic’s (SBLC) mission is to provide 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. See the SBLC website for additional information about the SBLC.

If you have questions, please contact Prof. Felstiner at