Jump to Footer

Small Business Legal Assistance

A Unique Resource for Legal and Business Expertise

The Small Business Legal Clinic is a resource for small business development in the Pioneer Valley region. Combining the resources of the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, School of Pharmacy, and the School of Law, the Small Business Legal Clinic offers personal, professional assistance to entrepreneurs in the business startup stage, free of charge through the Small Business Clinic and community outreach events.

Small Business Clinic

  • Small Business Clinic

    The clinic provides legal services to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Hampden and Hampshire counties who are unable to afford legal services. Generally, those with household incomes greater than $100,000 are not considered eligible for services. We are currently accepting applications for the upcoming semester. If you are interested in the Clinic's services, please click the "Would you like to apply" button below. For more information, please contact us at 413-782-1469.

     

  • Client Testimonial

    Small Business Clinic Provides Free Legal Service to Start-Up Companies in the Community

    Small Business clients Jim and Beth Angelos share their experience working with the clinic students and how valuable the services were in advancing their business.

  • Client Testimonial

    Small Business Clinic Client states, "The clinic changed my life"

    Small Business Clinic client Shaunia Swinton shares her experience receiving legal services from the Small Business Clinic.

  • Client Testimonial

    Small Business clients gain step by step instructions while participating in the Small Business Clinic

    Kathy and James Andrade share their clinic experience as first time business owners. The clinic provided them with a detailed understanding of the legal steps they needed to take for their business.

Learn More About the Clinic

What We Do

Law students work on transactional (i.e. non-litigation) legal matters that are typical in the start-up phase of a business including choice of entity, employment policies, contract drafting, regulatory compliance, and intellectual property issues relating to trademark and copyright. The Small Business Legal Clinic is also part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Law School Certification Program, which allows law students to practice Intellectual Property Law before the USPTO under close supervision of the Clinic Director. The clinic's second goal is to assist local entrepreneurs and ultimately act as a catalyst to the economic development of western Massachusetts.

What We Do Not Do

We do not assist with business litigation, draft business plans, develop loan packages, or prepare tax returns.

What is our Selection Process

We provide legal assistance to start-up companies in the greater Springfield area that are unable to pay market rates for legal services and that fit into our other selection criteria.  The clinic strives to serve as many organizations as possible, but we cannot meet all the requests for our services.

For businesses with well-defined legal issues but which for some reason cannot be served by the Small Business Clinic as a regular client, the Clinic offers a one hour walk-in consultation. At the walk-in consultation, the clinician and students meet with a business person to discuss the legal matter in detail and provide some feedback to help the businessperson get the assistance they need. Although the Clinic cannot perform the legal work necessary to resolve the matter at the consultation, the interview frequently resolves confusion and helps ensure that the matter will be resolved appropriately.

Contact

For any questions, please contact our Clinical Programs Office at 413-782-1469.

Application

If you are interested in utilizing the Clinic’s services, please fill out an application:

  • Online Application: we have just added an online application, making it even easier to apply to the Small Business Clinic. Apply now.
  • If you would prefer a paper version, please contact Marie Fletcher at 413-782-1469 or mfletcher@law.wne.edu.

FAQ

Q. WHAT DO WE DO?
A. The Small Business Clinic offers free legal services to small businesses located in the greater Springfield area.

Q. IS THERE AN APPLICATION PROCESS?
A. Yes. Prospective clients must complete a short application that asks entrepreneurs to describe their specific area of concern. The application process will conclude with an interview with the students and faculty member. Applicants are accepted into the program based upon the complexity of their concern, the estimated time it will take to complete the project, and their business income level.

Q. WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE SERVICES?
A. Businesses are eligible if their projects can be concluded within an 11 to 14 week timeframe.The Clinic is intended for entrepreneurs and small businesses who cannot otherwise afford to retain a lawyer. Thus, there is also an income threshold that businesses must meet in order to be considered.

Q. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF STUDENTS?
A. School of Law students, under the supervision of faculty members, work in small groups to assist local small business owners in resolving their legal issues or needs. Students work directly with the entrepreneurs throughout the 11 to 14 week semester session. Students also give presentations on legal and business topics throughout the year.

Q. ARE THE STUDENTS SUPERVISED?
A. Yes. The students work under the supervision of a School of Law faculty member who is also a licensed attorney.

Q. WHAT IF I HAVE A MORE IN-DEPTH ISSUE/PROBLEM?
A. If clients have a more in-depth issue or problem that cannot be resolved by the Center's students, they may be referred to local attorneys who have agreed to be listed as a resource. These additional services may have fees attached.

Q. WHERE IS THE CLINIC?
A. The Small Business Clinic is office located in the School of Law, in the Blake Law Center at Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Road in Springfield, MA. The Small Business Clinic is located on the 1st Floor of the Blake Law Center in room 119.  Please call 413-782-1469 with any questions.