Startup Law Initiative

Through the Startup Law Initiative (SLI), 1L students team up with law firms to provide free legal incorporation services to Bay Area startup founders and local entrepreneurs. SLI’s services allow founders to overcome costly legal barriers to conducting business. Students are put into small groups and assigned a startup 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. Founders must meet income requirements to qualify for assistance.

Additionally, the students learn the core legal, financial, and organizational aspects of starting and scaling a new business by attending Form + Fund workshops.

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

  1. 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 will be limited to 18 members this year given supervising attorney capacity.
  2. 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 small way to get involved in startup law efforts at the law school. Students should check out startup@BerkeleyLaw for more information. There are several courses at the law school, including the New Business Legal Bootcamp and the New Business Law Clinic. The Berkeley Center for Law and Business hosts events throughout the year, including several related to startup law such as the Venture Capital Speaker Series.  It is important to remember that SLI is a pro bono project focused on creating access to legal services to under-resourced entrepreneurs.  Students interested in start up law and emerging businesses can pursue this field in many other ways at the law school.
  3. 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).
  4. 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