The Shape of You, or in Other Words, why Teach Entrepreneurial Awareness as a Clinical Attribute?




Commercial law clinics are not a new phenomenon, and indeed in this very journal reports and academic commentary have been presented which identify and explore the nature, formation and operation of such clinics. However, these contributions focus on how clinics and their student volunteers can help commercial enterprises and start-up ventures with various legal issues they may encounter. Clearly, the need for such clinics and the value they provide to the students and community are immense. Where the clinical offer outlined in this report differs, and on which we hope a meaningful contribution to the body of scholarly knowledge is made, is in using a clinic setting with a simulated corporate client to operate two (elective) modules that enable the students to gain a thorough appreciation of those issues which underpin the formation and operation of a corporate structure. A simulated law firm is the setting through which the modules operate, albeit most of the tasks and issues raised in the modules would equally apply to other professions. By using the simulated client approach we are able to guide the students in helping navigate the client through every aspect of the journey of the business – its inception, the legal sector in which it will operate, its mode of incorporation, its clients and the generation of business, legal policies and issues likely to be faced in respect of running a business, its marketing and advertisement, professional body regulation and compliance, the financing of the business, and an appreciation of the stakeholders (and underlying philosophies) with whom the business and its personnel will engage. This clinical perspective allows the students to proactively develop strategies to navigate the owner through myriad complexities, whilst gaining valuable feedback regarding the efficacy of their decision-making and being empowered to adopt revisions to accommodate numerous changes in the professional, legal and financial environments. The main aim of this clinical experience (which we describe in Section 3) is to develop in the students a commercial awareness and understanding of what is required to be an entrepreneur in a modern legal service setting. This requires moulding their ‘shape’ as a legal graduate.

Author Biographies

James Marson, Sheffield Hallam University

Reader in Law

James Marson’s research interests are based on access to justice, EU law, employment law and the law as it affects refugees and migrants. He has an established track record of building successful partnerships between academia and stakeholders—including founding the landmark Refugee Family Reunion Clinic (in collaboration with the British Red Cross) at Sheffield Hallam University. He has established relationships with organisations throughout the UK working on immigration and refugee integration.

Katy Ferris, University of Nottingham

LLB (Hons) (University of Sheffield ), PhD (University of Sheffield), Fellow of the HEA (The Higher Education Academy).

Associate Professor in Business Law.