UCC opens free law clinic for startups

Tech firms can get advice on issues such as copyright and selling online

 Law student Susana Eloisa Rizo Mender; Tim Hoefuagels and Dr Darius Whelan of the UCC School of Law. Photograph:  Daragh Mc Sweeney/ProvisionTwelve

Law student Susana Eloisa Rizo Mender; Tim Hoefuagels and Dr Darius Whelan of the UCC School of Law. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/ProvisionTwelve

 

Startups seeking legal information can now access expertise free of charge with UCC’s new IT Law Clinic.

The Cork clinic is part of iLINC, the European Network of Law Incubators, and will work with established IT clinics in cities such as Amsterdam, Hamburg and New York.

The UCC clinic will see 12 postgraduate law students work with academic staff and established law firms such as McCullagh Wall, Ronan Daly Jermyn and O’Dowd Solicitors to answer legal queries from small technology firms.

“Startups don’t have the funds to pay for expensive legal services, so by providing free information we save them that extra expense. We hope that this service will reduce legal barriers for innovative startups and drive startup growth,” said Professor Maeve McDonagh, one of the clinic’s co-directors.

“We saw that the model of free legal information for startups works really well in other countries and decided to apply that model in Ireland here at UCC.”

That service could prove invaluable to startups who need guidance on issues such as copyright, data protections and selling online.

“The new IT Law Clinic at UCC provides a badly needed resource for fledgling technology startups in the region. Legal issues are unfortunately something that many startups avoid in their early days because of perceived cost and complexity issues,” said DC Cahalane, founder of Cork tech startup initiative BuiltInCork. “Free access to the expertise within UCC and local established law firms will be hugely beneficial in helping startups get started the right way.”

The clinic will not only advise startups, but it will also provide students with the opportunity to apply abstract legal knowledge to real-life situations, co-director Dr Darius Whelan said.