Access to Justice Clinic - Nonprofit & Entrepreneurship Division (NEC)
The Access to Justice Clinic - Nonprofit & Entrepreneurship Division (NEC) is a 2-credit clinic that will focus short-term counseling in a broad range of small business and nonprofit legal matters, including assisting with the formation of corporations, limited liability companies; drafting contracts; and providing assistance with tax issues for local businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
Taught by Professor Darryl Maxwell who has taught the Small Business and Community Economic Development and other courses at GW Law. Professor Maxwell is also the Director of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Nonprofit & Small Business Legal Assistance Program.
Credits: 2 credits – CR/NC (one semester)
Types of Matters/Cases: Nonprofit startups; applications for tax exemption; contract review; small business incorporation
Skills Gained: Client counseling, interviewing, contract review and drafting
Prerequisite: 2Ls second semester and upper-level students; Corporations (Law 6250)
Recommended Courses: Federal Income Tax (Law 6300)
Additional Application Requirements: None
Selection Process: Application review
- Information for Students
Students in this Clinic, under faculty supervision, assume substantial responsibility for representing small businesses and non-profit organizations. Students interview and counsel clients, draft or review limited liability company and partnership documents (e.g., articles of incorporation, bylaws, articles of organization, operating agreements, and partnership agreements), review leases and draft contracts, advise on basic tax issues, and provide legal advice on a wide range of related business matters. Students in this Clinic enjoy the same close supervision and mentorship that is a hallmark of the GW Clinics as well as certification to practice as student-attorneys. The time commitment and scope of lawyering work involved in this Clinic, however, are far more limited than those in our traditional 4-6 credit clinics.
- Seminar and Faculty Supervision
This 1-credit seminar focuses on business client counseling and interviewing; document review and drafting and all aspects of transactional law. Classroom exercises prepare students for the legal work they will engage in. In the seminar, students also learn the substantive law and local and federal regulatory scheme they need to engage in their cases. In the classroom, students consider small business development into a broader community economic development framework and learn the value of increasing investment in diverse neighborhoods and fostering community empowerment and economic opportunity. Finally, in seminar, students discuss access to justice and how to reform our legal system to address bias, discrimination, and injustice. The seminar is taught collaboratively with faculty who direct other divisions of the Access to Justice Clinic.
Under the supervision of faculty, students will be responsible for every phase of client counseling and document preparation. Students will interview and counsel clients, draft, and review documents collaboratively, and prepare for all facets of representation. Students in the Access to Justice Clinic – Nonprofit and Entrepreneurship Division leave this intensive clinical experience with insight into transactional law, the role of a lawyer in access to justice, and the ways in which our system is justice and unjust. They also leave having engaged in lawyering work under the close supervision of experienced clinical faculty who seek to support students in their professional development, their lawyering skills, and their professional identity formation – all of which will serve students in their marketability and their job performance. The Clinic holds a mandatory orientation the weekend before classes begin.
- Student Application Information
Students will be selected based on their potential to provide high quality, client-centered legal services to our client population. Faculty will consider students’ interest in and commitment to the practice of nonprofit and transactional law. Students who have not yet been able to explore these areas should not be deterred from applying but should explain in their applications their interest in and enthusiasm about working on these issues.
Interested students must fill out the Uniform Clinic Application from the Law School's student portal website under "Clinics," where a complete set of application instructions are posted at least a few weeks prior to registration. Students may contact Professor Maxwell to discuss the Clinic generally or to ask specific questions. Permission of the instructor is required prior to registration. Students may not enroll in a Field Placement and a Clinic at the same time without prior approval of both departments.
- Time Commitment
This 2-credit Clinic is intended to provide a clinical experience to students who may not have the ability to devote more credits or time to lawyering work. At the same time, students will be engaged in the practice of law, which can be unpredictable and demanding. Students will be expected to devote an average of 7 hours per week to their Clinic work. The work will ebb and flow during the semester, requiring substantially more work when working under a particular deadline and less work between deadlines. Faculty ask that students be prepared to be as flexible as possible.