Reaping The Rewards of Entrepreneurial Activism

Reaping The Rewards of Entrepreneurial Activism

Clockwise from left, James Joseph, assistant director of the IJ Clinic, Trish Hill-Granberry, administrative secretary, Jason Ketchens, Nanda Monteiro, Sara Robinson, Dan Liljenquist, Brian Lee, Martha Tsuchihasi, Patricia Lee, the Director of the IJ Clinic, Brenna Findley, Mary McDermott, Jessica Khan and Jessica Klapper. Clinic participants not pictured: Matt McCarthy, Alex Dyner, Madhu Goel, Stacy Monahan and Mary Pixley.

By Patricia Lee

The entrepreneurial activism in and around the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship recently inspired significant media coverage featuring our successes in inner city Chicago.

Forbes noted, "This project is one where liberals and conservatives can find common ground."

The hosts of WGN-TV's Minority Small Business Report reaffirmed the benefit of the IJ Clinic, praising the "very valuable" contributions the the community that the law students provide, and noting that they attend "one of the best law schools in the world."

A Chicago Sun-Times columnist concluded that, "The clinic is practicing what Congress preached when it pushed through welfare reforms: helping people support themselves and their families without depending on government handouts."

Aspiring entrepreneurs aren't the only ones who benefit from the IJ Clinic. One of the most significant manifestations of our success can be seen in our students' accomplishments. The law students in the IJ Clinic are more energized than ever before. This year's group of second year law students, on their own initiative, developed a pilot series of three workshops geared toward entry-level entrepreneurs. Not only did these students interact with entrepreneurs very intensively; they also provided vital advice about business planning, choice of business type, intellectual property and contracts to members of the community. The third-year students have also done a tremendous job in client intake and representation.

On May 22, we recognized Nanda Monteiro, a third-year student at The University of Chicago Law School, as this year's recipient of the "Entrepreneur's Advocate Award." Among her numerous accomplishments, including her leadership, she was the first student to complete and obtain a copyright and a trademark for a client of the IJ Clinic. Another third-year student, Alex Dyner, and I were recently presented appreciation awards for our efforts in developing a newly incorporated organization named "Rebuilding Our Community, Inc.," which pledges to revitalize a 24-block area of Woodlawn.

Our success to date can be seen every day in the community's enthusiastic response. But that's not all. The program is enormously popular with students. By the time registration closed this spring, 118 students (approximately one-third of the first and second year students) were on the waiting list!

Although the school year is now over, that doesn't mean our work stops. Throughout this summer we continue to serve clients while we work diligently to make the Clinic even better next year!

Patricia H. Lee is director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship.


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