The Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic (“ELC”) at Santa Clara University services the active local startup community by delivering quality legal services to entrepreneurs through the use of second-and third- year law students.
The ELC serves the dual purpose of giving law students the exposure to real-life issues that confront Silicon Valley companies, and providing startups with high-quality, affordable legal help. The ELC differs from a traditional classroom setting, in that the students work on actual client projects under the supervision of the ELC Director.
The ELC is a transactional clinic where students will have an opportunity to work on a variety of transactions crucial to startup companies, such as business entity formation, financing, operational contracts, company policy, website terms of service, and intellectual property licensing. Students in the ELC not only spend time working on client projects, but they also attend seminars generally twice weekly which cover a variety of subject matter areas relevant to the current mix of ELC clients. Seminars are highly focused on practical application of the law in the form of writing, research, negotiating, client counseling, and problem-solving.
The clients of the ELC are at varied stages of the startup life cycle. Some clients are new entrepreneurs, seeking advice on issues such as choice of business entity or founder equity compensation. Others are more established startups seeking help with business transactions, such as distributor agreements, leases, employee policies and contractor agreements. The ELC sources most of its clients from Santa Clara University programs and departments, such as Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business, School of Engineering, and the Center for Science, Technology and Society. Potential clients are asked to fill out an application form. Clients are chosen based upon the ELC workload, complexity of the requested project(s), and ability of the ELC to meet the client’s requested timeline.