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Information for Prospective Clients

The Entrepreneurial & Transactional Law Clinic (ETC) at Drake University Law School provides free organizational and transactional legal services to business startups, entrepreneurs, and community nonprofit organizations to help them establish successful for-profit and nonprofit enterprises. The ETC targets entrepreneurs and innovators located in underserved Des Moines neighborhoods and Iowa rural communities who are not able to afford private legal counsel. Student attorneys, under the supervision of the ETC faculty, assist clients with business and nonprofit legal needs. The ETC is designed to support and promote urban neighborhood and rural community revitalization through economic development, small business growth and access to social services.

In addition to representing clients, student attorneys may also provide free community education workshops on issues related to small business and nonprofit startups. Clients receive free legal services but are responsible for all out-of-pocket fees and other expenses associated with the representation (such as state filing or application fees).

Legal Services and Practice Areas

  • New for-profit business formation and legal structure advice
  • Formation of nonprofit corporations
  • Governance advice for business and nonprofit organizations
  • Review, drafting, and negotiation of co-owner agreements, commercial leases, loan agreements, and other business agreements and documents
  • Applications for 501(c)(3) tax exemption and advice regarding the continued maintenance of tax-exempt status
  • Legal audits and organizational check-ups
  • Community revitalization projects and transactions
  • Organizations seeking assistance from or participation in economic development incentive programs

The ETC does not prepare tax returns, or provide assistance initiating or defending litigation.

Client Selection Criteria

ETC faculty members determine whether the requested services are appropriate for student representation. Priority is given to potential clients with projects that:

  • Assist clients that do not have discretionary funds for legal advice
  • Are owned/operated by women, minorities or members of traditionally underserved groups
  • Have a written business or strategic plan or can otherwise demonstrate the capacity for ongoing operations
  • Are located within an underserved neighborhood in the greater Des Moines area or a rural community in Iowa
  • Provide good learning opportunities for the ETC’s student lawyers.

Application process

Prospective clients must submit an Application Requesting Legal Services. To obtain this application click on the button below. For more information, please contact the ETC at (515) 271-3851.


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