Course Information

Taught by Heather Way, Frances Leos Martinez, and Eliza Platts-Mills

The Clinic is open to students who have completed their first two semesters.
6 credits (pass/fail) — offered Fall, Spring

Please note: Students may not enroll in both the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic and the Texas Venture Labs at McCombs School of Business concurrently.


ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CLINIC – 6 credits (application required)

Taught by: Heather K. Way, Frances Leos Martinez, Eliza Platts-Mills

The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic provides students with a unique opportunity to develop business law and problem solving skills while representing entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, and community groups.

Students will learn how to represent their clients on a broad variety of transactional business law matters. Typical legal matters include:

  • assisting businesses with choice of entity decisions
  • forming for-profit and nonprofit entities
  • applying to the IRS for tax-exempt status
  • drafting and negotiating contracts
  • providing legal advice to nonprofit boards of directors and staff
  • drafting lending and real estate documents
  • assisting with intellectual property matters

The Clinic also provides interested students with the opportunity to represent clients on public policy issues impacting small businesses and community organizations. Prior projects have included drafting state legislative reforms to assist low-income homeowners access property tax exemptions, testifying before local and state legislative bodies, and advising clients on regulatory barriers.

Clinic students learn how to represent their clients through clinic classes, weekly team meetings with their clinic supervisor, and independent research and initiative. The Clinic classes emphasize the applicable substantive law; the larger social and theoretical context of the Clinic’s work; and the development of practical lawyering skills such as interviewing, counseling, negotiating, contract drafting, and public speaking.

The Clinic class meets on Monday afternoons from 2:15-4:15 pm (two or three classes will run until 5:15 pm), and also on Thursday mornings from 9:10 to 10:00 am for case rounds. There will be a mandatory orientation class on Friday, January 19th, from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. The Clinic is a significant time commitment. Students are expected to devote an average of 17-20 hours a week to the Clinic, including class time. There are no prerequisites for this clinic, although a background in business law (such as business associations, real estate, or tax law), nonprofit law, or policy work will come in handy.

Enrollment is by application only. Students are encouraged to apply for the Clinic during early registration, as the Clinic fills up quickly. The deadline for applications and early registration is October 13th at 5 pm. Students may request to be placed on a waiting list if space is unavailable during registration. Grading is on a pass/fail basis for this six-credit hour clinic.

The Clinic is a partnership between the Law School and Texas Community Building with Attorney Resources (Texas C-BAR), a project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

To apply for the Clinic, please submit the online application, available on the UT Law Clinical Education homepage (https://law.utexas.edu/clinics/). For additional information, please contact Clinic Director Heather K. Way (hway@law.utexas.edu, 512-232-1210), or the Clinic Administrator, Fernando Castillo (fcastillo@law.utexas.edu, 512-232-2574).