Legal clinic for start-ups goes live in Cork

25 Nov 201528 Shares

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Pictured are: law student Susana Eloisa Rizo Mender; Tim Hoefuagels and Dr Darius Whelan of the UCC School of Law

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University College Cork has become the first university in Ireland to offer free legal information to start-ups at a new IT Law Clinic.

The clinic at University College Cork will be able to respond to legal questions from start-ups about issues ranging from protecting copyright to ensuring websites comply with data protection law.

The clinic will be staffed by 12 post-grad law students together with academic staff and staff from established law firms including McCullagh Wall, Ronan Daly Jermyn and O’Dowd Solicitors.

Legal resources are badly needed for fledgling start-ups

“The new IT Law Clinic at UCC provides a badly-needed resource for fledgling technology start-ups in the region,” said DC Cahalane, founder of Built In Cork, a community initiative to aid the development of Cork technology start-ups.

“Legal issues are, unfortunately, something that many start-ups avoid in their early days because of perceived cost and complexity issues.

“Free access to the expertise within UCC and local established law firms will be hugely beneficial in helping start-ups get started the right way. It’s another great example of how UCC is playing a powerful role in the development of the local technology ecosystem,” he added.

‘We saw that the model of free legal information for start-ups works really well in other countries and decided to apply that model in Ireland here at UCC’
– PROF MAEVE MCDONAGH, UCC

The clinic’s co-directors, Dr Darius Whelan and Professor Maeve McDonagh from UCC’s School of Law, are aiming to bring together the talent within the Irish start-up scene and the university.

“Start-ups 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 start-up growth,” said McDonagh.

The IT Law Clinic at UCC, part of iLINC, the European Network of Law Incubators, collaborates with successful, established IT clinics in cities including Amsterdam, Hamburg and New York.

“We saw that the model of free legal information for start-ups works really well in other countries and decided to apply that model in Ireland here at UCC,” McDonagh added.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com