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Small Business Legal Clinic

Interview with New Staff Attorney, Shanna Knight

October 08, 2019

  • Shanna Knight

What drew you to the SBLC?

Where do I start? I had previously volunteered with the SBLC’s Pro Bono Project and I was so impressed with how the clinic served the community and I felt really lucky to be a part of it. I was able to use SBLC resources to catch up with an area of the law I hadn’t practiced in for a few years, and I had some of the best clients of my career here. New businesses and nonprofits have amazing energy and I couldn’t help but feel humbled in their presence but also really proud that I helped them out on their way to achieving their goals.

I was immediately interested when I saw that the SBLC was hiring a new staff attorney, but what really caught my eye was the fact that a portion of the work would be dedicated to serving rural communities, and especially Native American entrepreneurs. I graduated law school with an emphasis in Native American law and have served tribes here in the Pacific Northwest and on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. I was really excited by the prospect of getting to serve tribal communities again.

What kind of work will you be doing?

My work will include two projects: first, I will be assisting rural small businesses, especially in Native American communities, with legal business issues like trademarks and copyrights, entity selection and formation, contracts, employment counseling, regulatory compliance, and lease reviews. Second, I will be a part of the Staff Attorney in the Reduced Fee for Service Program. This part of my work will serve small businesses and nonprofits throughout Oregon, including the Portland metro area, who need immediate assistance with transactional legal services.

What are your future goals?

 Since the rural project is new, my more immediate goals include conducting outreach, like meeting with partners who serve rural communities and providing legal presentations in places like Pendleton, the Umatilla Reservation, the Warm Springs Reservation, and the Madras/Redmond/Sisters area. Long-term, I would like to see more small businesses thrive and create jobs, to build word-of-mouth about the SBLC’s services in both urban and rural communities, and to see support for continuing this work going into the future. On a personal note, my goal is to build my business knowledge by learning from my clients, and my plan is to have a ton of fun while doing it.