Free legal advice for Triad-area entrepreneurs

20080807virgil8100The dream of starting your own business can become a nightmare when legal questions arise. But for those interested, free legal advice is available June 15 through the Wake Forest Community Law & Business Clinic during “Ask A Lawyer Day.

Steve Virgil, clinic director and Wake Forest law professor, says the number of people interested in launching a business has increased in the last six months to a year. “Many have been downsized by major employers, and when they leave, they are interested in using severance funds as seed money to start a business.” The economic downturn seems to have spiked an interest in entrepreneurship and innovation.

In the past, the lawyers and 3rd-year students certified to practice who work at the clinic have addressed a wide variety of questions from how to structure a business to taxes to questions on hiring employees. But the question that always comes up: If something happens, am I liable. “The answer to that question depends on the kind of business you’re running and what kinds of things you can foresee happening. If you’re planning on operating a firing range, the potential for liability issues is much higher than if you’re planning to start a photography business,” Virgil says.

Though people are welcome to visit the clinic throughout the year, the Ask a Lawyer workshop gives even more businesses and nonprofits access to the professional resources of Wake Forest School of Law. Though appointments are available (336.631.1931), walk-in visitors can talk with someone between 1 and 4 p.m. about legal concerns related to business.

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