A Recipe for Success: Clinical Referral to NC LEAP
Article Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Written By: Felicia A. Branch
In the spring semester of 2010, Mrs. Mary Speight, Regional Director of the Small Business Technology and Development Center, provided the Small Business and Community Development Clinic at NCCU School of Law with the usual list of clients who could possibly benefit from the services of the clinic. One of those clients was the creator of Num Num Sauce – Michael Lloyd. Two students, who were joint JD/MBA candidates, requested his case and we arranged an interview with Lloyd.
During the interview, which the students conducted, Lloyd’s passion and energy for his product were palpable. Though he was enrolled in a graduate program in chemistry and had a full time job, he spent a substantial amount of time making and distributing his product. I wondered when he had time to sleep. Such passion, I have found, energizes the students as well. This time was no exception.
His dedication to what he wanted to achieve was contagious. We were all excited about the prospect of helping him to accomplish his goals. At the conclusion of the interview, we let Lloyd know that he would need to come back near the end of the semester for the students’ presentation of their research and recommendations due to the number of issues we were attempting to address. However, one tidbit of information gleaned from the interview prompted me to inform him that he needed to speak with an intellectual property attorney about the possibility of a trademark. Our law school did not, at that time, have the Trademark Clinic that we now have. So I provided him with information about the North Carolina Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program (NC LEAP).
Because I had provided Lloyd with information about NC LEAP, when he came back for the students’ presentation two months later, I inquired as to whether he had contacted the organization. He told me that he had not. At the conclusion of the presentation, wherein the students provided him with information regarding the protections that a trademark would give him, I looked at Lloyd and told him, “You need a trademark. I know you’re busy; you’re extremely busy, but you need to make time to get that process started. As the saying goes, ‘You needed it yesterday.’” He sheepishly replied that he would. I knew, based on the short time that I had spoken with him, that he would, indeed, do everything that he needed to do without further prodding.
I am excited that NC LEAP paired Lloyd with the attorneys he needed to move his business to the next level. It is gratifying to know the positive impact that our clinic’s referral had on helping him to achieve his goals. •
Branch is assistant professor of law at North Carolina Central University School of Law. She is the supervisor of the Small Business and Community Development Clinic at the law school.
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