Elon Law to offer pandemic support for business startups

A grant from the Greensboro Virus Relief Fund is helping the law school’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic hire a practitioner-in-residence to coordinate its new COVID-19 Small Business Response Initiative.

Elon Law’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic is expanding this spring to assist regional startups, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs in locating resources and navigating legal questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With funding from the Greensboro Virus Relief Fund – established by the United Way of Greater Greensboro, the City of Greensboro and the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro – the clinic has hired Greensboro corporate attorney Daniel J. Lawall L’16 to supervise its COVID-19 Small Business Response Initiative.

Daniel J. Lawall L’16 will serve through August as the practitioner-in-residence at Elon Law’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic.

Lawall will serve through August as the clinic’s practitioner-in-residence. His presence allows an expanded number of students to help clients identify resources and answer questions related to small business issues and recently passed federal legislation addressing the pandemic.

The Greensboro Virus Relief Fund considers applications from local nonprofits that provide services to coronavirus-impacted children, families, seniors, homeless and small businesses. The clinic anticipates serving up to 75 additional clients because of the grant.

In addition to direct legal services, Lawall and students in the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic will create educational materials to be disseminated to small business owners and to community partners who also assist small business owners.

“The direct legal assistance we’re able to provide to startups and nonprofits, especially in this time of economic uncertainty, is just one example of how Elon Law demonstrates helpfulness in a city teeming with knowledge and expertise from a half dozen institutions of higher learning,” said Elon Law Dean Luke Bierman. “Since our founding, Elon Law has served as a hub of learning, lawyering and leadership in downtown Greensboro. We’re pleased to be able to contribute to our community.”

Lawall previously served as in-house counsel to APEX Analytix LLC where he drafted, negotiated and executed a broad range of technology contracts, including software licensing, data privacy, open-source software, confidentiality, software-as-a-service, independent contractor, and professional services agreements.

Before graduating from Elon Law in 2016, Lawall grew his own knowledge of corporate law through work in the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic. Since then he has periodically assisted the clinic since then with instruction and education to assist student interns in developing analytical, planning, editorial and counseling skills in the context of client projects and reality-based course work.

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic is a fully operational law office staffed by faculty-led Elon Law students who provide pro bono business-related legal services to entrepreneurs and small business owners in Greensboro and throughout Guilford County otherwise unable to afford legal representation.

To qualify for free legal assistance, clients must meet certain income eligibility requirements for for-profit ventures and have five or fewer employees.

“These are startups and nonprofits that can’t afford to hire a private attorney because they’re in the earliest stages of development without a strong revenue stream,” said Associate Professor John Flynn, the clinic’s founding director. “Our clinic exists to nurture entrepreneurs whose success is integral to economic growth across our region.

“The United Way, the City of Greensboro, and the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro have made it possible for Elon Law to support an even greater number of clients impacted by the pandemic. I’m thankful not only for their show of support for what we do but also for the support of my Elon Law faculty colleagues who offered ideas to further strengthen our clinic’s ties to the community.”

Entrepreneurial businesses and nonprofits interested in services from Elon Law’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic should contact businessclinic@elon.edu to schedule a consultation and to learn more about eligibility requirements. Please include “COVID-19” in the subject line of the email.