Through the Startup Law Initiative (SLI), law students team up with law firms to provide free legal incorporation services to local entrepreneurs. SLI’s services allow Bay Area founders to overcome costly barriers to conducting business. Students are put into small groups and assigned a client to work with over the course of the semester. Students’ work includes research, client intake, interviews, drafting and filing documents (e.g., articles of incorporation), and interactions with clients and supervising attorneys. The business owners must meet income requirements to qualify for assistance.
Additionally, the students learn the core legal, financial, and organization aspects of starting and scaling a new business by attending Form + Fund workshops. In the Spring, students lead their own workshop and office hours under the supervision of attorneys from a variety of Bay Area law firms.
Supervision: Students in SLI are supervised by attorneys from the law firm SPZ Legal, P.C.
Time Commitment: 15-20 hours per semester
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can all Berkeley Law students apply? Yes, both J.D. and LL.M. students are welcome to apply, but applicants should keep in mind that our capacity is limited. SLI was limited to 12 members last year given supervising attorney capacity and will be again this coming year.
- I came to Berkeley Law because I want to be part of the start up law culture at the law school. If I do not receive an offer to join SLI, how else can I get involved? SLI is only one way to get involved in startup law efforts at the law school. Students should check out startup@BerkeleyLaw for more information. There are also several courses at the law school, including the New Business Legal Bootcamp and the New Business Law Clinic. Finally, the Berkeley Center for Law and Business hosts events throughout the year, including several related to startup law.
- What times/days of the week will meetings take place? Trainings will likely take place at lunch or in the evenings as they will be conducted by our supervising attorneys. Specific dates and times have not yet been set. Client work will be done on your own time, coordinated with your teammate(s).
- Is prior experience required/preferred? No! Training will be provided, so no experience is necessary. One of the goals of the organization is to provide exposure to corporate transactional work for students who are interested but have not had prior opportunities to explore this type of work.
For more information, please contact the student leaders at StartupLawInitiative@berkeley.edu.