Community Enterprise Clinic Organizes National Business Law Clinics Conference

April 26, 2007Duke Law News

Community Enterprise Clinic faculty organized 2007 Business Law Clinics Conference, held April 20 in Chapel Hill.
The Law School’s Community Enterprise Clinic (CEC) faculty took the lead in organizing the 2007 Business Law Clinics Conference, held April 20 in Chapel Hill. Faculty from small business, nonprofit, and intellectual property clinics at more than 40 law schools exchanged strategies for teaching substantive law in the clinical setting, effective client selection, and strengthening their programs, among other issues. The conference was sponsored by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (the NCIIA).

“It is always energizing to be with colleagues who are doing such challenging and innovative work,” said Clinical Professor and CEC Director Andrew Foster. “One of the clear trends that emerged from this conference was the increasing importance of intellectual property law, both for business law clinics and for their clients. We are all challenged to find ways to better address the issues related to this area of law.”

How clinical programs can or should support faculty and student innovation within universities was a key focus of the conference. “This is a question that a lot of transactional clinics face,” said Foster. “Last year, for example, our clinic represented many of the student business teams competing in the Duke Start-Up Challenge, including the winning team, which developed a low-cost method for treating jaundice in developing countries. While these cases were outside our core area, they presented great learning opportunities and I had students eager to work on them.” Several participants committed to work with one other and the NCIIA over the next year to develop strategies for better engagement in university innovation and invention, and they will share their ideas at the 2008 conference.

Faculty at the Small Business Opportunity Center at Northwestern University School of Law and the Community Development Law Clinic at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law also helped organize the event.

For more information, please contact: Andrew Foster, Associate Clinical Professor of Law & Director of the Community Enterprise Clinic, Duke Law School (919) 613-7076,