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How to Become a Clinic Client

Who can become a client?

We encourage any Philadelphia-area for-profit or non-profit organization in need of legal counsel related to starting or operating their business to apply. We select clients based on a variety of factors including whether the prospective client has access to the traditional marketplace for legal services. Generally, the Clinic’s services are best suited to clients who have spent time developing a business plan for their venture and have clear ideas about their goals for the venture and their plans for achieving them.

How do I become a client?

All prospective clients should contact the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic by completing our online application or, if you do not have Internet access, by calling our main number (215.898.8044). If the applicant is qualified and the Clinic has capacity, the applicant will have a preliminary telephone interview with a member of the Clinic faculty. If the preliminary interview confirms that the applicant’s legal needs align with the teaching goals of our program, then the prospective client is invited to come into our offices for an intake interview with a law student counselor. After the intake interview, those whom we agree to represent receive an engagement letter detailing the scope and terms of our representation. When the client has signed and returned a copy of the engagement letter to the Clinic accepting these terms, our representation officially begins.

We serve the majority of our clients during the academic year (September-December and January-May). We accept applications for representation year-round, however, generally, we add new clients to our roster only at the start of each semester (September and January). Consequently, the timing of your legal needs is likely to impact whether we are able to accept you as a client.

I have submitted my application for ELC services; what happens next?

You will receive a confirmation email, stating that we have received your application. Faculty attorneys evaluate all applications based on a number of criteria. In some instances, you will receive a call from one of the attorneys to find out more about your business. Some applicants may have needs that we do not have the capacity or expertise to service. Still others may not be ready for legal services and be encouraged to reapply after further developing their business plans. If our client roster is full but you are the type of business that we can help, you will remain in our pool of potential clients should an opening arise.

How much does it cost?

Our services are free, however, clients are required to pay any and all costs associated with the representation such as government or agency-imposed filing or application fees.

Does the ELC field quick questions or accept walk-ins?

No. However, the ELC presents community workshops on topics of general interests to entrepreneurs each semester, such as choice of business entity, obtaining non-profit tax exempt status, and the fundamentals of trademark, copyright and other intellectual property law, that are designed to provide entrepreneurs who are not accepted as clients with answers to common legal questions. See our events page for more information about upcoming events.

Other questions? Email elc@law.upenn.edu or call 215.898.8044

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