By: James Grega, Jr.
Founded in 2012, the Entrepreneurial Business Law Clinic (EBLC) at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law is the school’s newest clinic and it operates within a very active entrepreneurial community in the Columbus metropolitan area.
The EBLC offers pro-bono transactional legal services to small business, startup, and nonprofit clients in the Columbus area.
Associate Clinical Professor of Law Paige Wilson is the director of the EBLC and has been since 2018. She has seen the clinic grow exponentially since joining Ohio State.
“It has primarily grown in two ways,” she said. “First, we added the Jeff & Cynthia Harris Fellow in 2019 and that position has allowed us to enroll more students in the clinic. Second, we have been able to take on more and different client matters. There is a broader range and diversity in terms of the kinds of work we are doing and the kinds of clients we are helping.”
The EBLC consists of 16 student interns per semester for a total of 32 per academic year. Those students, and the Jeff & Cynthia Harris Fellow, assist clinic clients with matters like drafting equity and operating agreements, negotiating employment agreements, providing tax advice, and counseling on intellectual property ownership, amongst other things.
“We aim to enroll students who are deeply interested in and committed to transactional law,” Wilson said when discussing the students who are typically accepted to participate in the EBLC. “Our students get a lot of intense experience and exposure to all kinds of transactional matters in the clinic. It makes a significant educational difference for students who didn’t get the summer internship they wanted or who might not have had any work experience prior to law school. The clinic builds a bridge between law school and practice after graduation.”
Currently, the EBLC is working with a variety of startup companies founded by Ohio State students.
“We have represented several clients affiliated with Ohio State who have won the President’s Prize, or who are participating in the President’s Buckeye Accelerator,” Wilson said. These clients have included Opendemia, an educational technology company that offers learning tools to students writing research papers; Food Leads, a nonprofit that provides nutrition and health education to marginalized communities; and BeEnabled, a mobility/accessibility consulting and design firm. “We have also represented tech startups and nonprofits founded by Ohio State graduate students and faculty members,” Wilson added.
Currently, the EBLC is working on a fundraising campaign to permanently endow the Jeff & Cynthia Harris Fellowship within the clinic. In addition, the EBLC is broadening its horizons by taking on new kinds of clients.
“Over the summer, [current Jeff & Cynthia Harris Fellow] Patrick Perkins and I traveled down to Ohio State’s South Centers in Piketon to speak with rural entrepreneurs,” she said. “We look forward to not only serving the Columbus community but looking outside to some of these rural areas that lack legal services and the kind of legal representation that entrepreneurs need.”
For those who wish to learn more about the EBLC, please visit the link below.