How do I apply?
A Client Intake Form
is available on our website. Once you submit that form, you are part of our prospective client pool. All the information you provide is confidential.
The Client Intake Form will ask for:
- Contact Information
- Names of partners or cofounders
- Your business idea
- Your current legal needs
- Your timeline - how soon do you need legal assistance?
- A business plan, if available
After you submit the form, a member of the Clinic's team will contact you with information regarding next steps.
Do I have to be a University of Nebraska student in order to apply?
Absolutely not! Although we welcome University students (as well as faculty and allumni), we accept clients throughout the State of Nebraska - rural, small town and urban - regardless of any connection to the University of Nebraska.
I am not located in Lincoln. Can I still be a client?
Yes! We are committed to providing transactional legal services across the great State of Nebraska. Although we prefer at least one face-to-face meeting with your Student Attorneys, we are willing to use technology to facilitate communication via phone, email, or videoconferences. You don’t have to drive hundreds of miles to get to Lincoln if you live in Greater Nebraska.
How much does it cost?
Legal services provided by the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic are FREE.
However, there are other costs. We prefer to think of these costs as investments:
Your Time: You will need to set aside time for an initial meeting with your Student Attorneys, and be available throughout the semester (via phone, email, or videoconference) to communicate with your counsel.
Your Patience: The Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic is a 6-credit hour course law students take in addition to their other courses and commitments. Therefore, students cannot devote all of their time to the Clinic. Students’ work product is carefully reviewed by the Clinic Director, and redrafts are often required. This takes time. Patience is a virtue.
Filing Fees: If your legal needs require documents to be filed with the Secretary of State, the United States Patent & Trademark Office, a regulatory agency or other licensing board, you will be responsible for paying those fees.
How long is the wait list?
Demand always exceeds our current capacity, but the length of our wait list varies. We typically have 30 to 50 prospective clients in the queue at any given time.
We generally add new clients only at the beginning of a semester - January, June and September. We add 12 to 16 new clients each semester to create full and diverse caseloads for our eight Student Attorneys. Prospective clients who are not selected remain in the queue.
If you can't help we right away, what other options do I have?
You have at least three options, which are not mutually exclusive:
- Remain in the queue;
- Request a referral to a local attorney with relevant subject-matter expertise, potentially including Clinic alumni; or
- Explore potential DIY resources with Clinic staff (for example, form documents for forming a basic limited liability company (LLC)).
If you choose to remain in the queue, you can put that time to good use by updating your business plan and continuing to take positive steps toward launching your startup or nonprofit. We allow access to our Warren C. “Bud” Johnson Entrepreneurship Library during regular office hours. And we would be happy to direct you to resources to help you with business planning, financial forecasting, or potential funding. Remember to inform us of any updates that might strengthen your application.
We are also happy to provide referrals to Clinic alumni or other attorneys if you need legal assistance before the next round of client selection. However, their services would not be free.
How do you select clients?
Many factors come into play during the client selection process. We try to assign our students a variety of legal matters they are likely to encounter as transactional lawyers (including entity formation, contracts, and intellectual property). We also try to include some nonprofits and clients from Greater Nebraska.
We do not choose clients solely on a first-come, first-served basis. And we don’t use a mathematical formula or algorithm. However, we do consider the potential value of the legal work to the client’s business, as well as evaluate whether the timing is right for the client’s legal needs to be addressed. We also consider whether the client has the financial wherewithal to hire a private attorney to have its needs addressed.
There are some clients we will NOT represent because their legal needs are beyond our expertise. Examples of legal matters we will not accept include patents, franchises, complex tax matters, and contested issues that may result in litigation.
Are student attorneys licensed to practice law?
Our Student Attorneys are not full-fledged attorneys because they have not yet graduated from law school, and they have not passed the bar exam or met other bar admissions requirements. However, they are allowed to provide direct client representation under the close supervision of a licensed attorney pursuant to Article 7 of the Nebraska Supreme Court rules. The supervising attorney for the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic is Professor Brett C. Stohs. He has strong academic credentials and several years of practice in transactional law in Nebraska, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
Can I be confident in the legal advice student attorneys provide?
Yes. In addition to having taken relevant coursework in advance of participating in the Clinic, all Student Attorneys engage in a 2-week intensive “boot camp,” during which the students practice and hone all the key skills they will need in the Clinic, including client interviewing and counseling, legal research, contract drafting, basics of entity formation, intellectual property protection, and employment law. All legal work is performed under the supervision of a highly-qualified licensed attorney, and you can rest assured that all legal advice and work product will be carefully vetted in advance.
I just have a quick question. Can I talk to the Director or one of your student attorneys?
No. We do not accept walk-ins, and we do not provide responses to legal questions.
In order to obtain legal advice through the Clinic, you will need to submit a Client Intake Form
You are welcome to visit the Warren C. "Bud" Johnson Entrepreneurship Library from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday. You are also invited to attend our outreach presentations (check the website for upcoming events). Or, we'd be haappy to refer you to one of our Clinic graduates.
I need legal service immediately. Are there any quicker alternatives?
Fast costs money. We would be happy to refer you to a Clinic alumnus or a private attorney, but their services would not be free.
I need a provisional patent. Can you help me with that?
While we admire your ingenuity, patent law is beyond the expertise of the Clinic. However, we would gladly offer you a referral to a qualified patent attorney.