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Female and Minority-Owned Businesses

Small business clients owned or controlled by women or members of a minority group will often ask for assistance in obtaining certification so that they can seek government contracts or business relationships with private companies that provide preference to such vendors.

While this may appear to be a highly specialized assignment for a legal clinic, almost every government agency and department at the federal, state, and local level has regulations or instructions that set forth quite clearly exactly how certification may be obtained. See, e.g., materials posted at Female and Minority. As a general rule, a substantial amount of information and documentation is required; and the entrepreneur is usually in the best position to fill out the formal application and collect the items required. The role of the law student will most likely be to guide the client through the process, to review the application in draft form, and to prepare corporate or LLC documentation that gives the woman or minority business owner clear control over the affairs of the entity applying for certification.

A related task for the clinical student is to review any government subcontract to which the client is a party to make certain that the client has a real, commercially viable role to play and is not allowing its name to be used with no significant responsibility for providing goods or services.

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