Going into 2013, RWU law students already had a rich array of experiential learning opportunities, but we have recently added two very popular options: our Corporate Counsel Clinical Externship program (where students do transactional work at leading regional employers (like the Boston Red Sox, Textron, and CVS) http://law.rwu.edu/blog/want-work-general-counsel-cvs-red-sox-gtech-launching-our-new-house-counsel-externship-program and our Community Economic Development Clinic. The Clinic is directed by Professor Gowri Krishna, who ran a similar clinic at Fordham and Michigan Law Schools. The Clinic makes law students available to provide much-needed free legal counsel to small businesses and nonprofits.
One of the big outreach events for the students took place earlier this month, as 3Ls Steve Sokolov and Zoe Zhang led a workshop for small business owners at Navigant Credit Union's Central Falls branch. Steve and Zoe briefly explained to a full room, including Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, what services the clinic can provide and then presented on two topics important to small business owners: how to organize to minimize the risk of liability and how to optimally classify workers. They took questions from the crowd and spoke one-on-one with entrepreneurs after the presentation.
The clinic already has worked with Sol Chariots Pedicab Cooperative and the Urban Greens Grocery Co-op, and is expanding its reach in the upcoming semester; we are especially excited about our plan to collaborate with the Entrepreneurship Center at Johnson & Wales, presenting at a brown-bag lunch on the topic of legal issues that arise when starting a business and then joining JWU's “Shark Tank Competition,” where student entrepreneurs compete for thousands in prize money. Also on tap: working with RiverzEdge Arts Project, which needs legal advice as it begins to sell skate boards to the public.
Here is some press coverage of the Clinic http://www.pbn.com/RWU-clinic-advising-on-economic-development,93301 as well as some additional information about the Clinic http://law.rwu.edu/story/community-economic-development-clinic;below are pictures from the event at Navigant.
Samantha Clarke '14, Professor Gowri Krishna, RWU Vice President Peter Wilbur, Sandra Cano, Navigant Business & Community Development Officer, Zoe Zhang '14, Steve Sokolov '14, Michael Ferragamo '14, Mayor James Diossa, Dean Logan, Anna Cano-Morales, RWU Latino Policy Institute and Randall Sacilotto, Navigant Vice President, Business Development
Jose Garcia, Brad M. McLane Agency