A new program at The University of Tulsa College of Law, the Social Enterprise & Economic Development Law Project, involves students in the representation of low-wealth and under-resourced small businesses and community-based organizations.
Through the SEED project, which combines client representation with classroom instruction, students will get hands-on experience by developing the legal foundation needed to ensure a successful transactional legal practice, including the formation of a new business. The range of potential clients and projects spans from neighborhoods near campus to underserved communities throughout Tulsa.
The SEED project already has a waiting list of potential clients and a full enrollment of eight students, said Patience Crowder, TU assistant Wellspring clinical professor.
Crowder, who will oversee the new clinic, joined the law school faculty in August after working with a similar project at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She spent the fall semester preparing the clinic to accept clients. She said there are abundant opportunities for her students to become a positive force working with entrepreneurs and community-based groups in Tulsa.
“I’m very excited about the promise this clinic has, particularly with the interest and support we’ve received from the community,” she said. “The students could gain practical experience with everything from basic transactional law to work with urban planning and redevelopment projects.”
The SEED law project is a one semester, six-hour course available to second- and third-year law students. The work with clients will be supplemented by a classroom component and all work will be supervised by Crowder.