Course Information

Course Description: Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic


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

Take your transactional lawyering skills to the next level with the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC). The ECDC provides students with a unique opportunity to develop business law and problem-solving skills while providing transactional legal representation to small businesses, social enterprises, artists, nonprofit organizations, and community groups in Texas.

Clinic students with members of the Community and Family Historical Preservation Association

Through hands-on interactions, ECDC students assist their clients with a broad variety of transactional matters, including:

Spring 2022 Students
  • making choice of entity decisions
  • forming for-profit and nonprofit entities
  • drafting and reviewing contracts
  • applying to the IRS for tax-exempt status
  • providing legal advice to nonprofit boards of directors and staff
  • drafting and reviewing real estate documents
  • assisting with intellectual property matters, including filing trademark applications

Interested ECDC students also have the opportunity to assist clients with complex problem-solving and policy support to identify innovative approaches for increasing housing stability, opening paths to economic opportunity, and fostering equitable and inclusive communities. Prior policy projects have included:

  • drafting state legislative reforms to assist low-income homeowners access property tax exemptions
  • testifying before local and state legislative bodies
  • advising clients on regulatory barriers

ECDC students build their transactional lawyering skills through representing clinic clients, weekly seminar and case rounds classes, and regular team meetings with their clinic supervisor. Skills emphasized include:

  • interviewing and counseling clients
  • contract drafting
  • public speaking
  • case management
  • legal research

Through community tours, classes, and cases, ECDC students also learn about Austin’s community development challenges and how they as attorneys can use their transactional lawyering skillset to make an impact in their communities.

Clinic students touring the North Lamar Mobile Home Park with members of the newly formed Asociación de Residentes North Lamar Corporation

The Clinic class meets on Monday afternoons from 2:15-4:15 pm, and also on Thursday mornings from 9:10 to 10:00 am for case rounds. A couple of the Monday classes run until 5pm. There is a mandatory orientation class on the first Friday of the semester, from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm. The Clinic is a significant time commitment. Each clinic team typically represents two to three clients, and students are expected to devote an average of 14 hours of week on casework, along with an additional 4-5 hours for class time and assignments. There are no prerequisites for this clinic, although a background in business law (such as business associations, real estate, or tax law) or policy work will come in handy.

Clinic student Allison Schmitz consulting with clients

Enrollment is by application only. Students are encouraged to apply for the Clinic during early registration, as the Clinic fills up quickly. For deadlines and other application details, see the Texas Law Clinical Program’s Application Information. Students may request to be placed on a waiting list if space is unavailable during registration.

For additional information, you may contact the Clinic Co-Directors, Heather K. Way (hway@law.utexas.edu, 512-232-1210) and Frances Leos Martinez (fmartinez@law.utexas.edu, 512-232-1222), or the Clinical Program Coordinator (ecdc@law.utexas.edu, 512-232-1564).