Drawing upon the author's experience with a law school Small Business Clinic, this article claims that business law transactional practice is inherently interdisciplinary, involving collaboration from various disciplines, including law, business, accounting, finance, engineering, computer science, and the social sciences. The author explores the need for legal assistance for entrepreneurs and other small businesses, especially for women and minority business owners, and discusses the recent rise in small business clinics and community economic development (CED) clinical programs, which the author attributes to a trend away from government entitlements and toward personal responsibility and economic self-sufficiency, the failure of the litigation paradigm to eradicate poverty, the need to broaden the clinical curriculum, and the availability of funding from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and other public and private sources.
The article employs the George Washington Intra-University Consortium in Business, Law and Engineering to examine the systems required to sustain interdisciplinary collaborative transactional work. It touts the pedagogical benefits of this context for teaching law students the necessary professional skills and values, and in particular the lawyer's professional responsibility for advancing social justice. It highlights the incentives and rewards of interdisciplinary teaching and practice in the transactional area, but also discusses the administrative, financial, cultural, and ethical impediments. The article concludes with an overview of the ethical issues involved in multidisciplinary, multi-jurisdictional small business law practice.
GW Paper Series
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 287; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 287
Susan R. Jones, Promoting Social and Economic Justice Through Interdisciplinary Work in Transactional Law, 14 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 249 (2004).