Student Eligibility and Requirements

What is it?                                                                                        

The Nonprofit + Business Law Clinic is a component of the Small Business Law Center (SBLC), which provides legal assistance and representation to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profits that do not have the means to hire an attorney to advise them. Students in the SBLC will have the opportunity to assist clients by forming entities, drafting, negotiating and reviewing contracts, and helping clients through the regulatory process. Students will be guided during representation by a licensed California attorney but students will have primary responsibility for their cases.

Students enrolled in the NBLC are required to participate in weekly class meetings that focus on the lawyering skills necessary to effectively represent clients. In addition to discussing client interviewing and counseling techniques, students will also focus on substantive areas of law that are relevant to students’ cases, including issues of professional responsibility. The weekly class meetings are mandatory.

How does this fit into my academic program?                                                                         

Participation in the NBLC satisfies the Professional Skills graduation requirement. Students who participate in the spring, fall, or summer are eligible for 3 or 4 units of live client work (or a minimum of 2 units in the summer). Each unit is equivalent to 5 hours per week (10 hours per week for summer), totaling 15 or 20 hours per week for client representation in the spring/fall or 20 hours per week in the summer. Work within the clinic space is required and students are expected to be available to meet with clients during their designated clinic hours. The mandatory clinical seminar counts for an additional 2 units in the spring or fall, or 1 unit in the summer.

What is required to participate?

To participate in the NBLC, students must have successfully completed Professional Responsibility and Civil Procedure I. Concurrent enrollment or completion of Evidence and Civil Procedure II is also required.

Students must also be eligible to become a California certified law student. To become a California certified law student, students must have completed their first year of law school, be in good standing, and have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in Civil Procedure II and Evidence. Once admitted into the NBLC, students will apply to become a California certified law student. To learn more about becoming a California certified law student, visit the California bar website.

Please do not begin filling out an application to become California certified until you are formally enrolled in the NBLC: there are only have a few slots, so not everyone who applies will be enrolled.

How do I apply?

To be admitted into the clinic, you must send a formal letter indicating your interest in working with the NBLC, a resume, and an unofficial transcript to lcruz@tjsl.edu. The letter should be addressed to Professor Becky Nieman, Supervising Attorney for the NBLC, and must include a date and signature. The letter should communicate successful completion or concurrent enrollment of the required pre-requisite classes and also describe past experiences with small businesses or future plans to work in a transactional law practice setting.

There are several considerations for selection. One of the considerations is prior work experience in a law office, which is important to the NBLC because it operates like a law firm. Students with law office experience have the advantage of diving right into matters without having to adapt to a law firm environment. Other considerations include no major commitments to extracurricular organizations such as Law Review, Mock Trial, Moot Court, ADR or other competitions. Preference may be given to 3Ls who have completed pre-requisites and who will not have another opportunity to enroll in the clinic.

The Fall 2017 application period is open from now until May 15. If all slots are not filled, applications submitted after May 15 will be considered until August 11. Applicants may be required to be interviewed by the supervising attorney of the clinic before a final selection is made.

Please register for any other courses you are interested in taking, as you are not guaranteed a slot in the clinic once you apply. If you are accepted, you can then add/drop units as needed. Do not waitlist yourself for the class. Visit Nonprofit + Business Law Clinic for more information.