USF Law School Provides Free Legal Services to Young Entrepreneurs

Law Students Obtain Real-World Training While Assisting Start-Ups

SAN FRANCISCO (October 29, 2013)

The University of San Francisco (USF) School of Law is helping budding entrepreneurs and start-up companies on a budget with free legal services thanks to the new Entrepreneurial Ventures Legal Services Project. The project is a collaborative effort between the school’s Investor Justice, Employment Law, Internet and Intellectual Property, and Mediation clinics.

“Although San Francisco Bay Area entrepreneurs often have the next great idea, they often need legal expertise to put their business together effectively and within the law’s requirements,” said USF Professor and Project Director Robert Talbot. “Start-up companies are always unique. From the business plan and management team to the capital resources, the product, and the marketing—all create needs that vary with each individual project. The legal help that a start-up needs almost always requires expertise in multiple legal disciplines.”

Under the supervision of clinical faculty and staff, law students in the four clinics provide the range of legal expertise that many entrepreneurs need to launch their businesses successfully. The Investor Justice Clinic works on business and securities legal issues; the Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Clinic works with trademarks, copyrights, patents and online business issues; and the Employment Law Clinic works with issues ranging from worker rights to employee classification and employment discrimination. In addition, the Mediation Clinic works with resolving conflicts through alternative dispute resolution rather than traditional means.

As they help fledgling start-ups with legal services, law students receive valuable hands-on training, Talbot said. 

“This experience helps students become practice-ready,” he said. “Students gain experience with the vocabulary and skills to hit the ground running as transactional lawyers. They are handling legal issues that are particularly important in the Bay Area. In addition, by working on cases in teams made up of students from different law clinics, they learn how to work collaboratively.”

The Entrepreneurial Ventures Legal Services Project is currently assisting its first clients, including a new fitness venture and a group of filmmakers. The number of clients accepted is limited and based on criteria including financial need of the entrepreneurs, whether the company will provide jobs or needed services to the community, whether the company is nonprofit, and whether the project is of a complexity suitable for students.

About the University of San Francisco School of Law

The University of San Francisco School of Law is located in the heart of one of the world’s most innovative and diverse cities. The law school pursues excellence in a humane, diverse, and intellectually vibrant learning community of outstanding teachers and scholars dedicated to training ethical professionals. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and innovative programming that educates students to be skilled and effective lawyers ready to practice law.  Having celebrated its centennial year in 2012, the USF School of Law is ranked as one of the “Top 170 Law Schools” by Princeton Review and the 10th most ethnically diverse law school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. For more information, please visit

To request interviews with USF Law Professor Bob Talbot, or more information about the USF School of Law clinics, please contact Anne-Marie Devine, senior director of media relations, at (415) 422-2697 or