The Tax Clinic is located on the SMU campus at the southeast corner of Hillcrest and Daniel in the lower level of Storey Hall.
The SMU Dedman School of Law also offers assistance to low income individuals in its Civil Clinic, Criminal Clinic, and Child Advocacy Clinic. For information on these Clinics you can call (214) 768-2562.
" We strive to give our clients more than they expect.”
In the Fall 2005 semester, the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law Small Business Clinic began providing free legal services to new and existing small businesses and non-profit organizations who cannot afford to pay legal fees.
Our Mission is to provide free legal services to new and existing small businesses and non-profit organizations who cannot afford to pay legal fees, and to provide our students with training on how to be a transactional lawyer.
Our goals are for student attorneys to learn from representing these clients, carrying that experience into and through their professional careers, while at the same time assisting small profit and non-profit organizations who do not have the ability to pay legal fees.
Description of Work
Many small businesses have a wide range of legal issues. Student attorneys will assist small businesses and non-profit organizations with various legal matters that these entities face. Student attorneys will advise clients in the start-up of their business and assist in preparing necessary legal documents. The student attorneys will also form and give advice to non-profit organizations. Student attorneys will learn how to deal with clients involving transactional business law. Student attorneys will have a hands-on experience of representing clients in a wide variety of business issues. For many of our students this will be their first time to practice law and have an experience dealing with clients. The Small Business Clinic operates as a law firm, and will provide students interested in transactional law with practical skills and training in many areas which are used by lawyers in private practice.
Services Offered to Clients
The Small Business Clinic and its student attorneys offer the following services to clients:
Start-up Services for Non-Profit Organizations
Start-up Services for Small Businesses
Counseling on Type of Entity to Form
Counseling on Organization Structure and Operation
Assist in preparing documents to form a Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, Corporation, or Partnership
Assist in applying for Tax-Exempt Status for Non-Profit Corporations
Business Licensing Issues
Reviewing leases and other contracts
Counseling on Business Plans
Counseling on Compliance with state, local and federal law
Review of legal documents used by the small business or non-profit organization
Reviewing tax issues
Copyright and Trademark
The Client's Role
The Small Business Clinic requires all prospective clients to come to the Clinic for an initial interview. Prior to an interview, the prospective client must complete an initial application. After we review the initial application, if we determine that the case meets our requirements, we will call the client to schedule the initial interview. The application must be completed before the client can be considered or scheduled for an interview. The application can be found here. The prospective client can fax the application to (214) 768-1611, or mail it.
The Small Business Clinic cannot accept all clients. Decisions to accept clients are based on a number of factors such as the complexity of the case, the case load of the Clinic, and whether we can properly assist the client. All applications will be reviewed and the prospective client will be advised of our decision. After the initial interview, the Director of the Small Business Clinic, in consultation with the student attorney who conducted the interview, will make a decision as to whether the client can be accepted. A prospective client will be notified by telephone or mail whether the client has been accepted or declined. Once a case has been accepted, the client will be requested to complete a detailed application to assist us in representing the client. The client will also be required to enter into an engagement agreement with the Small Business Clinic. The client is expected to pay all costs in connection with the filing of any documents on behalf of the client and any expenses incurred by the Small Business Clinic.
The client will be charged an administrative fee of $25.00. The client is expected to review all drafts of documents presented to the client and return those to the student attorney in a timely manner. The client is also expected to attend necessary meetings with the student attorney and to communicate with the student attorney.
We reserve the right to terminate any relationship where we determine that the client is not cooperating with the student attorney. We only represent clients who cannot pay legal fees for the services they are seeking with respect to business transactions. If a prospective client can pay for an attorney, we will not be able to represent the client. We require all of our clients to have a business plan when they are accepted as a client, or within two weeks after acceptance.
We do not give legal advice or answer questions unless the person seeking advice is a client that has been accepted by the Small Business Clinic.