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UC Law Announces Partnerships with Business Incubators; Local Entrepreneurs Benefit

The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic at the College of Law cultivates new partnerships to provide legal assistance at local business incubators while giving students much-needed client counseling experience.

Cincinnati, OH—The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC) at the University of Cincinnati College of Law has launched new partnerships with two local business incubators, delivering legal services to local entrepreneurs and providing law students with opportunities to use and enhance their lawyering skills.

“We’re excited to announce that the ECDC has now partnered with the Hamilton County Business Center, one of Ohio’s best startup incubators, and First Batch, one of the tri-state’s newest business accelerators,” said Lew Goldfarb, Director of the ECDC at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. “Partnerships like these are great for the community. Businesses benefit from critical legal services they may not otherwise be able to afford and students develop their legal skills. It’s a ‘win-win’ situation.”

The program, which launches in June and runs through August, connects incoming third year law students with small businesses at the Business Center and First Batch. The students, working under the supervision of a practicing attorney, are licensed to practice law under a “legal intern license” issued by the Supreme Court of Ohio.  In addition to providing legal services to local start-ups, the students will be able to participate in some of the business training that is offered by the Business Center and First Batch.

During the inaugural year, the programs will be combined, so the same UC law students will serve clients at both business hubs. Thereafter, the plan is for the programs to run separately with students at each location. “Combining the programs during the inaugural year gives us a chance to assess the amount of and type of work each location requires so that we can determine how to best staff the programs in the future,” said Goldfarb.  

"Throughout our history, the Hamilton County Business Center has benefited from an extensive relationship with the University of Cincinnati,” said Patrick Longo, the Business Center director. “By adding UC’s clinic on-site at the Business Center, it allows our clients to access quality legal advice from up-and-coming UC law students.  As a full-service business incubation program, the Business Center is always looking to add program components that will give our clients a competitive advantage as they launch and grow their ventures.”

The Business Center, the longest-running and most successful business incubator in Southwest Ohio, helps entrepreneurs launch innovative businesses. In operation over 24 years, the Business Center has a long and successful track record of supporting and graduating innovative companies that strengthen the local economy and add jobs to the community. The Business Center provides office space, business services, coaching, mentors, shared services, connections, and access to capital to 65 tenant-businesses at its Norwood location.

"We're excited to be partnering First Batch manufacturing entrepreneurs with talented UC law students,” said Matt Anthony, co-founder of First Batch. “Minimizing liability risks and protecting intellectual property are important objectives for any innovative startup, but there are a number of unique challenges with manufacturing start-ups that the law students can help them overcome. Having direct access to legal advice is unusual for a young company, so this partnership will be invaluable to our First Batch program participants in their quest to scale their businesses."

First Batch, a four-month accelerator program located in Over-the-Rhine, identifies young designers with finished product prototypes, provides them with commercial space and support, and pairs them with local manufacturers with the goal of completing their first batch product run by the program’s end. First Batch was created to showcase Cincinnati manufacturing and highlight an untapped resource in the tri-state’s start-up culture, as well as boost the area’s economic activity, leverage local talents, and grow creative enterprise efforts.

 “Cincinnati is quickly becoming an entrepreneurial hotbed,” said Goldfarb about the local impact of this type of program. “The more partnerships we can form to provide resources for startups, the more companies will want to come here. That’s critically important for the local economy.”


About the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic at the College of Law

The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic partners local law students with small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, representing them on transactional legal issues critical to their success. Client services include assistance and counseling on entity selection and formation, regulatory compliance and licensing, advice on trademark and copyright protection, and lease and contract review, negotiation, and preparation. Through its work, the ECDC hopes to give students a tremendous learning experience and to contribute to the economic development and revitalization of Cincinnati and surrounding communities.