The iLINC network is helping Europe’s growing start-up community get affordable legal services through a network of newly created ‘law school clinics’, or ‘law incubators’ – a relatively new concept that appears to be taking off in Europe.
Law School professor Jonathan Askin is the founder of the Brooklyn Law Incubator and Policy Clinic – which offers low-cost legal services to New York-area entrepreneurs. He helped create the iLINC network of similar clinics in Europe, where he says both clinical legal education and support for entrepreneurs have lagged behind the United States.
“I went to Brussels and pitched it to the European Commission,” he says, “and they said this would be an exciting concept.” The Commission granted 500,000 euros to fund iLINC.
A law incubator is a pro-bono ‘legal clinic’ set-up in a law university, or in a network of law universities, where law students provide legal advice to entrepreneurs under the strict supervision of a teacher.
Adequate legal support is vital to the success of technology start-ups. Failure to anticipate potential legal challenges might negatively impact the business, possibly jeopardising opportunities for market growth and expansion. On the other hand, law students could always use more ‘real-life’ experience.
Universities such as the ones of London, Amsterdam, Leuven and Hamburg are participating in the network. The KU Leuven recently won an award of 25.000 euros with their law incubator initiative.
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