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DePaul Business Law Clinic Helps Build Businesses By Matching Law Students With Women Entrepreneurs

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The DePaul business law clinic is working towards building our local economies one female entrepreneur at a time.

The law clinic matches current law students with women from across the city, providing necessary legal advice counseling and business expertise – all at an affordable cost.

Afenya Montgomery noted that the iCAN Collective is one of the many new businesses to grow from this collaboration.

"We're all about pairing diverse entrepreneurs - people of color, primarily Black women - to resources and information to build their businesses," Montgomery said.

In her quest to help get others' ideas off the ground, Afenya needed some help herself. The law clinic was that, and more.

"I was able to work with them - really hands-on," Montgomery said.

They paired her with law and business students who, for a flat rate of $500 per semester, worked as her direct consultants. The clinic helped her outline the lease for her space and even offered support in developing a COVID-friendly business strategy.

Founder of the Business Law Clinic, Professor, and Associate Dean Julie D. Lawton describes the partnership as mutually beneficial for both the businesses and students.

"For our students, it's this wonderful, vibrant, interdisciplinary experience," Lawton said, "and for our clients, they're able to get this holistic support. Not only on the law, but on the tech side as well."

Nika Vaughan, founder and owner of the Plant Salon, is a returning client of the Law Clinic.

This is the clinic's fourth year of serving local female-owned businesses, and all businesses are welcome. To learn more about the Law Clinic, visit DePaul's website.

"It was an amazing opportunity to work with all these people who have all this great knowledge just mobilized for your business," Vaughan said.

Both Montgomery and Vaughan were able to access the Law Clinic through their involvement in the Business Accelerator program at DePaul University's Women in Entrepreneurship Institute.

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