Students of Fordham Law’s Entrepreneurial Law Clinic recently conducted their first one-day legal clinic with Community Capital New York. Collaborating with alumnus William Malpica ’00, a partner in Martin LLP’s business and corporate group, students provided valuable legal services to 12 low- and moderate-income small-business owners.
“It was quite a rewarding experience getting involved with an organization that has direct impact in its surrounding communities,” said 2L Edward Kim in praise of Community Capital New York, a nonprofit community lender that provides affordable loans and small-business training to low- and moderate-income business owners, often from underrepresented groups, who otherwise lack important resources. “In a short span of time,” said Kim, “we were able to provide multiple small-business owners some clarity in legal issues and guidance on their next steps. It was also great to experience firsthand, multilingual legal advice in action.”
During the one-day clinic, Kim worked with three fellow Fordham Law students: 3L Blessing Adeyeye, 2L Zachary Sherman, and LL.M. student Edouard Wilhelm. Clinic students are supervised by Bernice Grant, senior director of the Entrepreneurial Law Program at Fordham.
“This was an amazing opportunity for us to give back to the community,” said Adeyeye, taking pride in the hard work of her colleagues. “The best part about this experience was that we were able to apply everything we’ve learned in our clinic seminar and through our clinic casework to small businesses in various industries.”
In addition to learning to apply their course-based knowledge about contracts and corporations to real-world scenarios, the students also received valuable advice from Malpica, whose insights helped to make the day a success. Malpica stressed the importance of their work for the small business owners and for the community at large.
“Community Capital’s small business clients are the backbone of their local communities,” said Malpica. “Unfortunately, they often lack access to quality legal services necessary to conduct their business and manage key risks. The legal clinic is just a small step in the right direction and I cannot have been more pleased to partner with Bernice and our current Fordham clinic students.”
Julieta McPherson, the vice president of lending at Community Capital, thanked the team for their hard work. “With your help, we were able to serve 12 business owners at the clinic,” she said. “We sincerely appreciate your contribution to serving those who otherwise cannot afford legal services.”
The Entrepreneurial Law Clinic plans to conduct similar one-day clinics in the future in addition to representing clients on an ongoing basis throughout each semester. The Nasdaq Educational Foundation and Fordham Law’s Entrepreneurial Law Advisory Council have provided generous support for the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic.
Anticipating the demands of a changing legal profession and deepening our commitment to service are two of the six objectives of the Law School’s strategic plan, Fordham Law Forward.