New Campbell Law Business Clinic Leverages Triangle’s Startup Culture

Campbell Law Business Clinic
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The Triangle’s position as a leading incubator for startup businesses and entrepreneurship was underscored when Raleigh was named this year by Inc. magazine as the third best place in America to start a business.

In January, Campbell Law School leveraged that growth and the accompanying need for attorneys with the January launch of the Innovate Capital Business Law Clinic at Campbell Law School — in Partnership with HQ Raleigh.

“We are so fortunate to call home one of top innovation hubs in the country, and this expansion of our school’s experiential learning program and partnership with HQ Raleigh is intended to give back and continue to foster the vibrant Triangle startup community,” said Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard.

Jim Verdonik and Benji Jones, partners at Raleigh-based Innovate Capital Law, are the clinic’s co-directors. The clinic works with individuals, small businesses, and other early-stage organizations who are members of HQ Raleigh and entrepreneurial ventures at Campbell and North Carolina State universities.

PARTNERING WITH HQ RALEIGH

The program is currently open to third-year law students, but it may be expanded to include second-year students in the future.

“The student attorneys prepare all of the legal documents and correspondence with clients – of course, Jim and I review their work before it is presented to the client. So far, our students have drafted operating agreements, corporate formation, founders’ documents, and website terms of use and privacy policies,” said Jones.

All legal services are provided free of charge to clients that cannot otherwise afford private representation.

“We had a fairly broad segment this past semester, a lot of tech, such as a company developing a complex compound through a local university, online publishing companies as well as more ‘main street’ businesses, like a commercial cleaning company with a social impact mission,” said Jones. “We are fortunate to have had a nice list of diverse applicants to choose from, and currently we have a waiting list. We hope to be able to help more companies during the fall semester as the clinic.”

THINK LIKE ENTREPRENEURS

Campbell Law students are being taught to think like entrepreneurs, not simply as lawyers,” Jones said. “A good legal advisor applies the same type of creative problem solving to legal obstacles that entrepreneurs use to bring their ideas to market. We encourage our student lawyers to understand a client’s long-term goals and ‘big picture’ objectives. That’s the best way to understand how to counsel them on short- and long-term decisions.”

HQ Raleigh Founding Partner Jason Widen added, “The clinic provides a valuable resource for HQ’s community as well as Raleigh’s entrepreneurial community by providing legal services to early stage entrepreneurs. And it further supports our mission to foster inclusive communities of entrepreneurs who create lasting social and economic impact.”

Jones continued, “We want to produce law school grads who understand HOW to practice biz law, so they can hit the ground running after graduation.”

And Dean Leonard added, “If these startups are successful, someday they will need future legal services that our students have been trained to provide.”

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