This guide has been developed to support students in the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic. The Clinic's students—along with pro bono attorneys and business advisers—provide critical early stage legal and business counseling to technology entrepreneurs, small business owners, social entrepreneurs, nonprofits and University of Washington and Institute for Translational Health Sciences faculty researchers.
Unlike, say, contract law, tort law, or criminal law, there's not a commonly shared sense of "entrepreneurial law." You can't pick up a study aid that surveys the area. That's because the law needed to support start-ups and small businesses draws from many substantive areas of law, and uses a variety of skills, such as drafting and counseling.
Common areas of law:
Of course, to advise some entrepreneurs, you might need to investigate other areas of law—e.g., international trade or liquor control law. This guide doesn't pretend to cover everything that might come up!
If you're not familiar with an area, look for overviews.
Use government websites to find guidance and forms.
Use practical guidance sections of online services to find checklists, tips, and overviews.
Research guides are compiled by librarians or subject specialists who have already gathered relevant resources for you so that you have a successful starting point in your research. In addition to this guide, you might find the following useful.
Graphic: Rand, McNally & Co's Handy Guide to Washington (1890s). J. Thomson Willing, 1860-1947, artist. Source: Library of Congress.