Small business owners to receive free legal help from UH law students - Ka Leo O Hawaii: CAMPUS

Small business owners to receive free legal help from UH law students

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Posted: Monday, October 28, 2013 5:00 am

Law students from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Entrepreneurship and Small Business Clinic will be offering free legal help to anyone who is starting or running a business.

The 45-minute sessions will be held during the last two weeks of October and in the first two weeks of November. Joseph Burns, director of the Small Business Development Center’s Honolulu office, said this event has been held at the school for about three or four years and occurs twice a year. Greg Kim, a licensed attorney with a specialty in business law, oversees the event. 

“The law school wants to give students some practical experience before they graduate,” Burns said. “This experience will provide an opportunity to get some legal help for law students.” 

Kim will supervise the clinic students meeting with clients. There will be two student teams meeting with clients who will answer questions regarding business law.

Burns said that they serve as a resource for businesses and as a bridge for the academic and business communities. The clinic recruits people to meet with students and Kim in conjunction with High Technology Development Corporation, which is a state organization that runs business development programs. 

Natasha Shanahan and her business partner, Michelle Fukumoto, recent doctoral graduates in psychology from UH Mānoa, are starting a new counseling business. They attended one of the free legal consultation sessions and will be receiving further help from them next week. Shanahan and Fukumoto recently started their first private practice offering psychological services: Kama‘aina Counseling Services.  

They said they appreciate the guidance they have received from the clinic. 

“The fact that the clinic is offering such services is an incredible asset to the community, as many people tend to start a business without knowing how to do so,” Shanahan said. “My partner and I are adamant about creating a respectable, ethical and legally sound practice, and I am glad that we can receive some help in doing that from the William S. Richardson School of Law.” 

Shanahan and Fukumoto will be returning to the clinic to receive help with the nuances of starting a new business and making sure that they are adhering to all associated legal protocol.

“There is so much that they can offer in regards to educating small business owners and providing professional advice,” Shanahan said. “Students are receiving hands-on training, while small business owners learn how to create strong and flourishing businesses.”

Burns believes the clinic is important for UH students and anyone who is starting a business.  

“It gives them exposure to a real situation,” Burns said. “It’s not just something they are reading about in a book or sitting in class learning. It’s an exposure to the real world. It’s great to have some practical experience outside of class.”

The next sessions are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Nov. 13 and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 15. The sessions will be held at the Mānoa Innovation Center at 2800 Woodlawn Drive, Suite 100. 

“All the feedback we get is very positive in terms of the clients receiving valuable help from the students,” Burns said.   

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