Small Business Legal Clinic
The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) serves low-income small and emerging businesses and nonprofits. In the 2017-18 academic year alone, the clinic served 300 businesses in matters involving intellectual property, business formations, employment contracts, and more.
Principal, Mac Legal
When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?
During the fall 2012 semester, I was a student intern. I was a law clerk for 2013-14.
IMPACTIn 2017, SBLC secured a patent for InStove, a product of Institutional Stove Solutions. This highly efficient, solid-fuel cookstove offers cleaner and safer cooking methods for people around the world. “The patent would have otherwise been out of reach for us, as a small business,” said Nick Moses of Institutional Stove.
What work are you doing now?
My practice is 100-percent federal trademark work. I represent clients in contested opposition and cancellation proceedings in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board as well as new trademark applications. I respond to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office actions, pursue and respond to claims of infringement, and counsel clients on brand protection.
What parts of your clinic experience helped prepare you for your career?
The experience of conducting client intake interviews with direction and oversight from SBLC clinical professors was invaluable. The opportunity to manage a client matter from start to finish gave me an introduction to what to expect from the practice of law. I worked on multiple trademark applications. It gave me an understanding of trademark practice that could not come from classes and helped to set me on the path to opening my own trademark-focused firm. I was able to get my first job out of law school with a small firm doing trademark work because of the experience I had at SBLC.
I have two. Excruciating (but helpful): watching a video of myself doing a client intake interview and critiquing my performance. One of the best: the opportunity to meet with practicing lawyers at Portland firms and ask them questions about specific client matters we were working on at the clinic.
How do you view the clinic now?
SBLC was the most important and impactful experience in law school for me. The clinic taught me how to be a lawyer more than anything else in law school. At first, I had no intention of starting my own firm, but my SBLC experience gave me the skills and confidence to take on that challenge.