Small Business Legal Clinic

Rural Program Works With Native Americans, Small-Town Oregonians

Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) Entrepreneurs Program is. bringing transactional legal services to low-income business owners from small towns and rural areas in Oregon, including Native communities both on and off reservations.

One of the shop's glass products. One of the shop's glass products.One such client is Oregon Coast Glassworks in Newport, owned by Robin and William Murphy, who are both Native American. The business not only sells glassworks of various local artists, but also offers hands-on experiences, such as glass-blowing sessions where participants create incredible memories and glass art.

The Murphys turned to SBLC for assistance in a review and renegotiation of their lease in light of COVID restrictions. The advice SBLC offered was based in part on the work done by Maggie Powers ’21.

As the Rural Entrepreneur Program continues to assist clients with pandemic-related issues, it also offers support in more standard transactional matters.

Patent Program Reaches Out

The Small Business Legal Clinic’s (SBLC) robust patent program represents clients and serves as a training ground for law students learning how to file patent applications.

The program also educates broad groups of entrepreneurs on the patent process. Clinic student Nate Housel ’20 worked with the Oregon Native American Chamber of Commerce to produce a video that tells the story of a native entrepreneur who is working to obtain a design patent. A second video, produced by clinic student Michael Loy ’21, discusses the process an entrepreneur goes through to obtain a utility patent.

SBLC Provides Support During the Pandemic

SBLC organized an online resource, Small Business Legal Resources for Pandemic-Related Issues, for bewildered business owners. In addition, SBLC provided help on many COVID-related legal issues this year, serving both affected entrepreneurs as well as business groups. Many funders supported the efforts, including the Ford Family Foundation and Prosper Portland as well as Washington County Business Recovery Center and Centro de Prosperidad, through a grant by Business Oregon.

Students working in SBLC and LITC this year received support from one or more of the following grants and scholarships: the Alumni Board of Directors Endowed Scholarship; John and Susan Bates Family Scholarship in Business Law; Candise DuBoff Jones Endowed Scholarship; Dean’s Scholarship; Discovery Grant; Environmental Law Fellowship; Helping Hand Scholarship; Alan & Shirley Johansen Scholarship; Doug Newell Scholarship; Peter Nycum Scholarship; Mark G. Tratos Scholarship; Trillium Grant; Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust Scholarship - Law Upper; Division Evening Tuition Award; and Cosgrave Vergeer & Kester Scholarship.