FAQs for Interested Law Students
How do law students apply to the Clinic?
Second- and third-year law students should register for the seven-credit Clinic through the Law School's computerized registration system.
Are there prerequisites for taking the Clinic?
No, there are no prerequisites for taking the Clinic. Because much of the client work will be in corporate, tax, intellectual property, and other business areas, students will likely find prior course work in those areas helpful.
Some examples of useful prior coursework include: Accounting for Lawyers (Law 751), Enterprise Organization (Law 557), Corporate Taxation (Law 749), Finance for Lawyers (Law 535), Patent Law I (Law 727), Patent Law II (Law 568), Trademark and Unfair Competition (Law 760), Entrepreneurial Business Practicum (Law 411), Business Planning (448), Transactional Drafting (Law 433), Anatomy of a Deal (Law 809), Advanced IP Practicum (Law 470), Copyright (Law 633), Cyberlaw (Law 667), Advanced Copyright Practicum (Law 668), The Law in Cyberspace (Law 897), Intellectual Property Workshop (Law 827), and Research Commercialization Financing (Finance 629).
Is the Clinic graded?
The Clinic is a seven-credit course—three for the seminar and four for the client work. The three-credit seminar is graded and the four-credit portion for the client work is pass/fail.
How often will the Clinic meet?
The Clinic includes a three-credit seminar that, for the Fall 2012 semester, meets for two hours on Mondays and two hours on Wednesdays. The classroom component of the Clinic addresses topics including how to effectively represent entrepreneurial ventures, interviewing and counseling clients, negotiating and drafting documents, entity formation, financing the entity, intellectual property, legal ethics, and other relevant topics. Clinic students also participate in "case rounds" in which they present and discuss the various matters the Clinic is handling.
Beyond the seminar class meetings, the Clinic involves frequent meetings with the Clinic faculty, Clinic clients, and fellow Clinic student attorneys.
Law students taking the Clinic should expect a significant amount of work (including independent research and education) to sufficiently address the diversity of legal needs that entrepreneurs present. Student attorneys should expect to spend at least 20 hours each week representing their clients. In addition to this client representation, student attorneys attend four hours of class each week, prepare for each class, meet with their supervising faculty, attend local entrepreneurial events, and plan and deliver educational sessions (e.g., office hours, presentations, publications) to the local community. Student attorneys will have a set four-hour period each week when they must be present in the Clinic space. In short, law students taking the Clinic should plan their semester accordingly so they can devote the necessary time to the Clinic and their clients.
Can non-law students take the Clinic?
Because the Clinic focuses on teaching how to advise entrepreneurial ventures in the capacity as a lawyer, only law students may apply to be students in the Clinic.
On the other hand, any University of Michigan student may apply to be a client of the Clinic.
Is it difficult for a law student to get into the Clinic?
In its first two semesters, the Clinic has experienced high demand from law students. For the Fall 2012 semester, 97 students applied for the 16 spots in the Clinic. The Clinic seeks to admit a well-rounded group of student attorneys that can sufficiently meet the legal needs of the Clinic clients. While there is no formula to guarantee acceptance to the Clinic, many law students getting into the Clinic have a demonstrated commitment to working with early-stage technology ventures. Some examples of activities in which past Clinic students have participated include:
How entrepreneurial is the U-M student body; what types of clients will the Clinic serve?
The Clinic clients will come from U-M's exceptional student body. U-M is one of a select few schools with top-tier engineering, business, medical, and law schools. U.S. News and World Report recently rated 95 U-M programs in the top 10 in the country, one of only four universities to achieve that high level of broad excellence. U-M's student body has included these prominent entrepreneurs:
- Google co-founder Larry Page
- iPod inventor Tony Fadell
- Former Skype CEO Josh Silverman
- Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy
- Groupon co-founders Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky
- HandyLab co-founders Kalyan Handique and Sundaresh Brahmasandra
U-M students are currently engaging in entrepreneurial activities like never before:
- The student TechArb start-up accelerator recently moved to expanded space and, after receiving a record number of applications, will host 19 start-up ventures in the next six months.
- Entrepreneur Magazine recently named U-M undergraduate student Allen Kim its Entrepreneur of the Year.
- The 1,000 Pitches business competition received more than 3,000 pitches in 2011.
- U-M now has three student-run venture funds: the $5.5 million early-stage Wolverine Venture Fund, the five-year-old pre-seed Frankel Commercialization Fund, and the first student-run Social Venture Fund
- In 2012, U-M launched its Master of Entrepreneurship Joint Program, a new program sponsored by the College of Engineering, Ross School of Business, and Office of Technology Transfer.
At Michigan Law, you can partner with U-M engineering, business, medicine, or other students in U-M programs to create your own entrepreneurial venture or serve as legal counsel to these students through the Law School's Entrepreneurship Clinic.