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Entrepreneurship Law Clinic

Students in the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic represent Ithaca-area entrepreneurs and startups who are not yet ready or able to engage paid legal counsel, but who need assistance setting the legal foundation for their businesses. Students learn to solve problems with a business-oriented mindset, how to communicate effectively with clients, and how to draft and edit a diverse array of contracts.

Clinic Goals

The Entrepreneurship Law Clinic (ELC) is Cornell Law School’s only transactional law clinic. By fostering entrepreneurship and innovation within Cornell and in the Ithaca area more broadly, the clinic contributes both to the commercialization of Cornell’s research and to regional community economic development.

Beginning in fall 2024, as part of the Blassberg-Rice Center for Entrepreneurship Law, the ELC will expand its work by opening a new space at the Cornell Tech campus in New York City. This will be the Law School’s first clinic in the city.

In the course of their client work, students in the clinic gain exposure to the following areas of law:

  • Business entity selection and formation
  • Equity allocation among founders and early hires
  • Hiring and employment matters
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Commercial contracts
  • Other general corporate and transactional matters

Many students in the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic work with their clients for multiple semesters, developing strong professional relationships, and learning key professional skills.

Student Testimonials

“Thank you so much for your clinic. I just started my first real week in the firm and everything I’m doing relates in one way or another to the clinic.”

“It is a privilege to work closely with the clients and to help their company grow. I most enjoy the rapport we’ve built with the clients and advising them as they navigate the company through its formative phase. It’s only been a month, and I’ve already learned so much from being part of the clinic! I plan to enroll in additional business and law courses related to start-ups and financing.”

“Often, a client comes up with an idea, and my first thought is that it won’t work with the existing law. What I’ve discovered is that, instead of just saying no to the client, if I go and take that idea, and try to find out what the goal behind the idea is . . . I can often discover another way of being able to accomplish that goal. . . . Instead of saying no, I’m learning to find ways of saying ‘What if?’”

“It is hard to put into words just how much I enjoy the entrepreneurship clinic . . . It is so great to have an environment where we get to learn so much practical training and have a lot of fun doing it.”

“Great clinic – got a lot of good practical experience in managing clients.”

“Fantastic clinic. It was my first experience working with clients directly and the professor was immensely helpful in preparing us to do so.”

Prospective Clients

The Entrepreneurship Law Clinic has limited capacity and can only represent a limited number of clients at any given time. As a result, the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic is not able to accept all prospective clients who apply for the clinic’s services.

If you are interested in becoming a client of the clinic, please complete and submit our online application form. We review applications and accept new clients on a periodic basis. We may contact you after we receive your application to ask you additional questions before determining whether to accept you as a client.

Your legal needs must fall within the scope of the legal services that the clinic provides. For example, the clinic does not provide advice on contentious matters, such as mediation, arbitration, or litigation, and does not prepare or file patent applications.


Celia Bigoness
Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Blassberg-Rice Center for Entrepreneurship Law
(607) 255-3285
Cornell Law School
155 Hughes Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

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