What does the ECD Clinic Do?
The ECD Clinic provides transactional and some administrative legal representation to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, community groups, and small businesses. ECD Clinic clients seek to positively impact the St. Louis community in a variety of ways, including neighborhood revitalization, job creation, producing and preserving affordable housing, offering needed goods and services, and working to generate solutions to common community problems. Under the guidance and supervision of full-time faculty members, law students provide legal services to ECD Clinic clients on a range of matters in the following four areas:
Community Development: The ECD Clinic assists community-based nonprofits, social entrepreneurs, and other community groups with transactional matters including fiscal sponsorship, choice of entity and formation, obtaining and maintaining federal tax-exempt status, governance issues, contract drafting and review, regulatory compliance issues, and real estate matters.
Entrepreneurship: The ECD Clinic assists entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses with transactional and administrative matters including choice of entity and formation, occupational licensing and permitting, employment matters, contract drafting and review, regulatory compliance issues, and legal research.
Intellectual Property: The ECD Clinic assists individuals and entities with transactional and administrative matters, including copyright, trade secrets, and licensing, and provides consultation and research on copyright registrations and prosecuting trademarks.
Policy: The ECD Clinic works with advocates and community organizations to develop local and state policy solutions to entrepreneurship and community development issues.
What doesn’t the ECD Clinic do?
Generally, the ECD Clinic does not litigate in a court of law, provide bankruptcy services, provide advice concerning securities law or tax law compliance, or provide patent prosecution. Also, the ECD Clinic does not field quick questions or accept walk-ins.
Who can become an ECD Clinic client?
Missouri or Illinois residents, nonprofits, or for-profits that need legal assistance in the ECD Clinic’s practice areas may complete the ECD Clinic Client Intake Form to be considered to be an ECD Clinic client. Clients are selected considering a variety of factors, including the ECD Clinic’s current capacity, the suitability of the matter for student educational purposes, the applicant’s available resources and access to market-rate legal services (including the applicant’s income and family size), timing needs, and the applicant’s potential community impact. The ECD Clinic’s services are best suited for applicants who have developed clear ideas, goals, and plans for their ventures (for example, as evidenced by a viable business plan or other written document).
How do I become an ECD Clinic client?
Contact the ECD Clinic by completing the ECD Clinic Client Intake Form [link to Intake Form]. If you do not have internet access, please call (314) 977-2778 to request that a student call you back to complete the ECD Clinic Client Intake Form by phone.
Within one week of submission, you will receive a confirmation email stating that your request was received. Your request will be evaluated based on a number of criteria, and someone from the ECD Clinic may contact you for more information about your needs.
After your request is reviewed, you will receive one of the following responses:
- an offer to provide certain legal services, to be detailed in an engagement letter;
- encouragement to further develop your plans and reapply for a future semester;
- an explanation that the ECD Clinic is not able to assist you; or
- an explanation that the ECD Clinic client roster is full but that you may choose to remain in the pool of potential clients should an opening become available in the current or a future semester.
The ECD Clinic serves the majority of its clients during the academic year (mid-August through December and January through early May). However, requests for representation are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. The ECD Clinic generally adds new clients at the beginning of each semester (August and January).
How much does it cost?
The ECD Clinic provides legal services to its clients free of charge. However, ECD Clinic clients are responsible for paying all third-party costs associated with the representation (e.g., filing fees, application fees, appraisals).
Testimony from an ECD Clinic Client
"SLU Legal Clinic is a fantastic initiative by SLU Law, which presents the opportunity for clients to obtain high-quality legal advice and services. We had a truly fantastic experience with Professor Patricia Lee, and the students assigned to our matter - Bob Maher and Andrew Fletcher. We hope the clinic continues to grow and flourish, in a symbiotic relationship with St. Louis - while providing SLU students real-life exposure to interesting cases."
- Amit Kothari