Celebrating Wake Community Law & Business Clinic
December 20th, 2012
This month, the Community Law & Business Clinic will complete its fourth year as part of the Wake Forest University School of Law. Over this short time, the Clinic has had a marked impact on our students, clients and community and as we end the year I would like to highlight some of the work that was accomplished this last year and pass along a few notes about 2013.
Practice and Impact – The Clinic provides an interdisciplinary forum for law, business and divinity students to work on community economic development projects across North Carolina. We work in four practice areas – Nonprofit Law and Capacity Building; Small Business Development; ARTSLaw; and Foreclosure Defense.
28 students participated in the Clinic during 2012 and assisted 148 clients with projects in one of our four practice areas. These students provided more than 5,000 hours of pro bono professional services to targeted needs in our community. 31 families facing foreclosure were assisted by the Clinic in 2012. Since 2009, 133 students have practiced in the Community Law Clinic and have worked on more than 600 individual matters for small businesses, nonprofits, artists and families facing foreclosure. This represents more than 23,500 hours of pro bono professional service, equaling an in-kind investment of more than $2.9 million in our community. Moreover, this investment is targeted to local community economic development efforts leading to even greater impact. By any measure, the Community Law & Business Clinic is having a significant impact with our students and across our community.
Going Forward – The Community Law & Business Clinic will undergo several significant changes during 2013. While continuing our core practice areas within Community Economic Development, the ARTSLaw practice will expand to serve more artists and arts based nonprofits. This is in response to the increasing interest in arts-based economic development in North Carolina. Also, an additional practice area will be added to advise clients who are assembling capital for community development efforts, a growing need in the increasingly entrepreneurial world of social ventures. Both of these developments will be described in depth in the clinic’s revised website, which will launch in mid January 2013.
Finally, as part of the School of Law’s overall strategy to locate clinics within Worrell Hall, the Community Law & Business Clinic will relocate to the Wake Forest campus during the summer of 2013. The move presents both a challenge and an opportunity for enhancing our practice and more information will be available this spring.
As we close 2012, I look forward to another successful year that matches our students with needs in our community. As always, I appreciate your insights and your input is always welcome.
All the best,
Steve Virgil, Director of Community Law & Business Clinic, Director of Institute for Public Engagement, Wake Forest University