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Small Business Legal Clinic strengthens Portland business community

September 14, 2009

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Since opening its doors in 2006, Lewis & Clark Law School’s Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) has provided business transactional legal advice to more than 300 new and emerging Portland businesses, primarily those owned by women, minorities, and recent immigrants.

In this video, Maggie Finnerty, executive director and clinical law professor for the clinic, discusses the services the SBLC provides.

The SBLC opened its doors after receiving a $100,000 grant from the City of Portland and reduced-cost office space in the Portland Development Commission’s building downtown. Since that time, the SBLC has received support from several large law firms, banks and other companies, private foundations, and individuals.

This summer, the SBLC received continued support—through both the general appropriation and the Economic Opportunity Program of the Portland Development Commission. The funding was a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, funneled to the Portland Development Commission through the Community Development Block Grant of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In addition to providing practical experience for Lewis & Clark law students, the SBLC provides its much-needed services to small businesses who otherwise would not have access to an attorney. By providing these crucial services, the SBLC helps new businesses get started off on the right foot, and helps existing businesses  take their business to the next level.

“The SBLC is a win-win situation for the law school and for small businesses,” said Finnerty. “While we are providing hands-on educational experience to law students, we are also supporting the biggest, yet most vulnerable, section of Portland’s business community.”