A new partnership with the University of Akron and Startup Lakewood will help to provide free legal services to businesses to plants the “seeds” of success.
Small Entrepreneur an Economic Development (SEED) legal clinic officially begins at the UA Lakewood campus at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“This group of dedicated law students provides a range of low-cost legal services to new and emerging businesses under the supervision of a licensed attorney,” said Bryce Sylvester, the city of Lakewood project specialist.
Gary Spring, from the University of Akron School of Law and the director of the SEED clinic, said that legal services aren’t often a priority for new businesses, sometimes just struggling to get off the ground.
“One of the goals is to give law students real hands-on experience,” he said. “And the other goal is to help with economic development. Paying lawyers is money that could be used developing products and doing what they’re doing.”
He said there are a few eligibility requirements for business owners looking to participate.
“You cannot be a business in existence for longer than five years,” Spring said. “You cannot have a gross revenue of more than $100,000, and you have to certify that you cannot afford an attorney.”
Startup Lakewood, the city-sponsored initiative to grow small businesses, is partnering with the university.
Tuesday’s event is an introduction to the new program.
It’s free an open to the public.
Most of the services offered are free for businesses meeting the eligibility requirements, but there’s a $300 fee for those who stay on to cover the cost of continuing services.
“It’s not just for startups, but it’s for others who have operating business — for people who need legal advice,” Spring said.
Office hours are slated to begin in mid-February at the UA Lakewood campus.
“We’ve hosted some off-site clinics,” said Spring. “There was some strong interest to bring this to Lakewood, so we thought we’d try it out and see how it goes. We will be there through February through April. If it goes well we’ll keep it going.
“I expect it to go well.”