Small Business Legal Clinic Update

The Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) served 415 clients, with 60 percent BIPOC-owned businesses and 57 percent women-owned businesses this past year. This was a new record and the first time the clinic served more than 400 clients in a year!

Contracts for Service Provider Clients

Students worked closely with service provider clients, such as construction contractors and landscape maintenance businesses, learning their client’s business and crafting a contract that minimized and managed risk. Students also helped a gluten-free Mexican bakery and a culturally specific end-of-life care provider set up their businesses and work through their owners agreements, tackling issues such as how they will make decisions and what they want to happen if one of them leaves the business.

Patent Clinic: Going Strong for Five Years

The patent clinic celebrates its fifth anniversary this year and continues to offer excellent advice and work product. Not only do students prepare and draft patents, but they help clients strategize and determine what kind of intellectual property protection is best for them. They draft NDAs and licensing agreements, as well as perform prior art searches to help clients understand what obstacles might need to be navigated to obtain a patent.

In a patent clinic first, students submitted a successful petition to the technical director. The client had gone through the entire patent application examination process and paid all the necessary fees to have their patent issued, but due to a technical error, the clinic never received a vital communication from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and the USPTO abandoned the application. Petitions are difficult to win, and they are notoriously difficult to put together within the pertinent time constraints. Students worked diligently to provide the required evidence to show the patent clinic had not received the communication; they argued succinctly, yet powerfully. The work was greeted with complete success, and it led to the issuance of the client’s patent.

Bree Yamada '24, Zoe Garrett '24 and Professor Susan Felstiner '94 (SBLC director) meet with a cl... Bree Yamada ’24, Zoe Garrett ’24 and Professor Susan Felstiner ’94 (SBLC director) meet with a client online.

Trademark Help

Students also were asked to tackle trademark matters, learning to research the feasibility of trademark registration and, sometimes, the art of delivering bad news and helping clients find alternative ways to meet their goals.

More Clinic Updates

Global Law Alliance for Animals and the Environment Update

The Global Law Alliance for Animals and the Environment (GLA) provides a clinical experience for JD students interested in environmental and/or animal law and a specialized clinic for the Center for Animal Law Studies international LLM students interested in wildlife issues. Students worked on these issues and more:

Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Updates

The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) provides free need-based legal representation in federal tax matters, specializing in client controversies with the IRS.

Criminal Justice Reform Clinic (CJRC) Updates

The clinic and its students work on issues including clemency, parole, access to courts for incarcerated youth, and forensic science in criminal cases.

Green Energy Institute Updates

The Green Energy Institute (GEI) develops smart and comprehensive legal and policy strategies to address climate change and support a swift and equitable transition to a sustainable, carbon-free energy grid.

Earthrise Updates

Earthrise is an environmental and natural resources litigation clinic serving nonprofit conservation organizations