The Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic serves social enterprises that are unrepresented given the high cost of legal services; nonprofit organizations and foundations working in a wide range of fields (including health, social services, education, youth development, technology, food safety and security, sustainable agriculture, and civil rights); and select small businesses.
Representation of this client group is consistent with Georgetown University's long tradition of public service. Social enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses contribute to innovation, economic and job growth, and a strong social safety net. These businesses and organizations are often unrepresented due to the high cost of legal services. The Clinic aims to support and encourage these important groups in Washington, D.C. through the provision of free legal services.
Second and third year law students enrolled in the Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic are responsible for all aspects of the client representation and legal work including client communication, fact development, project planning and management, legal research, drafting, negotiating, and presentation of the work product. Unlike an internship law students do not work at the client's office nor are the clients responsible for supervising the law students. Experienced attorneys within the Clinic supervise the law students and guide them in legal representation to ensure high quality work.
The Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic provides legal assistance in three areas: (1) transactions, contracts, or other legal documents; (2) strategic business and operational advice; and (3) legal workshops.
1. Contracts or Transactions: The Clinic negotiates, drafts, and reviews contracts and other legal documents.
Contracts and Transactions for For-Profit and Non-Profit Clients:
Contracts and Transactions for Non-Profit Clients:
Governance Compliance and Review: Targeted review of all governance and organizational documents to assess the nonprofit organization's compliance with federal and state reporting requirements as well as generally-recognized best practices concerning governance, disclosure and operating maters. Advice on relevant legal and operational considerations and preparation of the appropriate governance documents.
Joint Venture Agreements and MOUs:
2. Operational: Strategic advice concerning a client's operations, policy, program, or service, including advice on how to adopt and implement a social or environmental impact mission or strategy.
3. Outreach and Legal Education: Legal workshops to educate social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations' partners, staff, or members on legal issues affecting their operations (e.g., licensing laws, entity choices, leasing, etc.)
The Clinic does not engage in litigation, or offer legal advice on employment, tax, patent, or accounting issues. The Clinic also does not write business plans.
To Obtain Legal Assistance
The Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic assists approximately 10-12 clients during each semester (Fall and Spring) of the academic year (September-May). Resources allow the Clinic to handle a limited number of cases each semester, and legal assistance for new clients is not available from May to August. Clients are chosen according to a range of factors that include the variety in the Clinic's client load and the educational value of the client representation.
We hope that we can be of service to your social enterprise or nonprofit! If you would like assistance, please send your inquiry via email to socialenterprise[at]law.georgetown.edu.
You may be asked to fill out an application for legal assistance prior to any consultation. You may request legal assistance at any time, but the Clinic typically conducts client intake in July for the following Fall Semester and in October for the following Spring Semester. Therefore, July and October are the best months to request legal assistance for the following semester. The Clinic happily accepts requests for legal assistance at other times, but due to the high demand for legal services and cyclical nature of the Clinic, we regret that most inquiries for immediate legal assistance cannot be met.
Once the client agrees to legal representation by the Clinic, Clinic attorneys will prepare an Engagement Letter with the client, specifying the scope of legal work to be completed and detailing the confidential nature of the attorney-client relationship. The client must agree to be represented by law students working under the supervision of a licensed attorney, to maintain active communication with the Clinic attorneys and students, and to attend scheduled meetings or calls with the Clinic attorneys and students. Because the Clinic is an educational course for students, clients can expect that the legal work done for the client will take longer to complete than if the legal work were to be completed by a fee-based, private practicing attorney.