Published 4/9/18 in the Daily Record

Five area law firms are joining forces with the intellectual property clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, the school announced Monday.

The school’s Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic expanded its services this yearto help businesses form their companies, draft shareholder and stock option agreements and perform other business law services. Now, the clinic will also include mentors from Baker Donelson, Gordon Feinblatt LLC, Offit Kurman, Perkins Coie LLP and Womble Bond Dickinson LLP.

Attorneys will advise students about their clients at the clinic, which is also supported through funding from UM Ventures. In turn, the firms will get to form relationships with startups and young lawyers, the law school said.

“Meeting law students while they’re still in school and getting exposure to these young businesses while they’re setting up their companies and making intellectual property and business decisions is incredibly valuable,” said Patricia Campbell, faculty director of the clinic, in a news release.

The firms also will be on an advisory board for the school’s IP program and give presentations and provide educational programing for startups and entrepreneurs.

Students in the clinic work with companies and small businesses in College Park and Baltimore. IPEC’s Baltimore services are based out of the Graduate Research Innovation District in the newly-renovated Lion Brothers Building.

The IPEC clinic is designed to help entrepreneurs get through the initial phase of setting up a business and protect their intellectual property assets, the school said. In the early stages of forming a business, getting essential and trustworthy legal services can be a huge burden for entrepreneurs on a tight budget. In some cases, it can cost a startup as much as $40,000 to get legal documents drawn to establish a company.

“We’re thrilled these five firms are joining forces with our IPEC to help ensure the sustainability of the program and maximize the positive impact it will have on the region’s efforts around innovation and entrepreneurship,” said UM Carey Dean Donald Tobin in a news release. “Helping businesses succeed will increase jobs and create opportunities for worker training and employment in new and emerging business sectors.”