Business and Community Law Clinic

Overview

The Business and Community Law Clinic (BCLC) at Wayne State University Law School offers free transactional legal services to qualifying organizations in Detroit and underserved areas across Michigan that aspires to create social impact and increase equity. Under the supervision of experienced and licensed faculty, upper-level law student attorneys assume primary responsibility and work directly with organizational clients to address their transactional legal needs. 

Clinic goals:

  • Provide upper-level law students with the opportunity to learn the theory, skills and practice of transactional lawyering through supervised representation of qualifying organizational clients, while also learning how transactional law can contribute to organizations' triple bottom line (people, profits, planet/environment, equity, economy)
  • Support qualifying organizations that serve the community and contribute to the entrepreneurial momentum in Detroit and underserved areas across Michigan, with valuable corporate and transactional legal assistance
  • Encourage the growth of social enterprise in Detroit and Michigan. (Social enterprises (1) are organizations (for-profit, non-profit or a hybrid) (2) that use entrepreneurial and/or equitable strategies (3) to pursue outcomes that are not only financially oriented, but also positively impact employees, other stakeholders, the community, and the environment)

Typical matters handled and sample clients:

The BCLC's services include assistance with organizational documents, corporate governance and compliance, operational contracts, financial documents, and select intellectual property protection. Sample clients of the BCLC include:

  • A nonprofit organization that seeks to promote public interest design to promote altruism in Linwood Gardens, Detroit and the world
  • A joint venture of two educational organizations that operate a community workshop in Brightmoor for building skills and an incubator for new enterprise
  • A for-profit feminist collective that promotes creative expression and camaraderie among underrepresented female-identified musicians and artists in Detroit with an ultimate goal of creating a collaborative, female-owned and operated music and art community space
  • A nonprofit that raises awareness and recycles tire waste in Detroit through artistic, educational and design activities

For students

The BCLC is a six-credit course open to upper-level law students who (1) have taken or are concurrently enrolled in Corporations and (2) demonstrate interest, through other coursework, activities and experience, in transactional law and public service. Student attorneys normally represent multiple clients; interact with client executive management, board members and key representatives; and collaborate with other professionals, service providers and experts to holistically address the needs of their organizational clients. Advanced BCLC is a two-credit course open to students who have successfully completed the BCLC, with permission of BCLC faculty.

View BCLC course information

Apply for a clinic

For prospective clients

Community-based for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations, and social enterprises contribute to thriving, sustainable, inclusive and equitable cities – yet they are often unable to address their corporate and transactional legal needs due to the unaffordability of legal services. The BCLC seeks to strengthen such enterprises and the communities they serve by providing free transactional legal assistance to organizations at all stages of formation and operation that meet the BCLC's selection criteria.

More information about BCLC legal services

Client application

For a printable version of the application, email lawclinics@wayne.edu.

For donors

Donations to the BCLC are greatly appreciated, and will support increasing the availability of the BCLC's services to underserved communities as well as the BCLC's educational caliber. Please consider investing in the work of the clinics by making a gift. Visit giving.wayne.edu or contact Rob MacGregor, senior director of philanthropy, (313) 577-4141 or rmacgregor@wayne.edu.

Contact

Assistant Professor (Clinical) Anne Choike
Wayne State University Law School
Business and Community Law Clinic
471 W. Palmer St.
Detroit, Michigan 48202
(313) 577-4015
lawclinics@wayne.edu

In 2018, our Business and Community Law Clinic contributed more than 4,500 billable hours among 17 student attorneys.