Startup NC Law Clinic

Students in the Startup NC Law Clinic represent startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses from across the broad spectrum of North Carolina’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, ranging from hi-tech to textiles, from microbreweries to the arts. Startup NC introduces students to the practice of business law in the context of counseling actual clients; students take the lead in the representations and are the point persons in all client communications and interactions.

Students will learn the practical skills and specialized business and transactional law needed to organize new entities for start-up businesses, counsel founders in their co-owner arrangements, and advise new businesses in their fundamental contractual relationships. Students will also provide certain asset protection information and regulatory advice, especially as clients move into new technologies or other cutting-edge businesses. This knowledge and experience are foundational for any law student who wants to work in the business, transactional, or corporate arena, whether as an attorney at a law firm, an in-house counsel, or a solo practitioner. 

Students will work with clients in and around the Triangle as well as in rural areas. Examples of clients might include food or beverage startups, providers of various educational products and services, textile-related businesses, new technologies, health and wellness entrepreneurs, makers of sustainable crafts or products, various e-commerce businesses, and small “brick and mortar” establishments.

The clinic includes a weekly 2-hour seminar component which provides substantive support for the client work. 

Enrollment Options and Credit Hours

  • Fall semester only – 5 credit hours (3 credits for the clinical work and 2 credits for the seminar component)
  • Spring semester only – 5 credit hours (3 credits for the clinical work and 2 credits for the seminar component)

Skills Learned

  • Interviewing and counseling entrepreneurs and other business clients
  • Developing legal judgment
  • Learning to be a business lawyer
  • Experience identifying, and helping achieve, clients’ goals
  • Experience drafting and negotiating corporate documents, including various commercial and operational contracts, founders’ agreements, and formation documents
  • Counseling clients in asset protection issues
  • Experience researching new areas and writing concise memoranda for clients
  • Experience in communication skills for effective, professional client representation, both orally and in writing
  • Experience in developing a professional “voice”
  • Experience in corporate workflow, case management, collaboration, and teamwork
  • The value of pro bono work

Requirements

Prerequisite: Business Associations

Faculty

Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Startup NC Law Clinic
(919) 445-0697 | marwhite@email.unc.edu
201A East Franklin Street