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UA law school’s SEED legal clinic receives SBA award

Legal News Reporter

Published: May 19, 2015

As many small businesses owners know, it only takes a small seed to grow into a successful enterprise. On May 7, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Cleveland District office presented its 2015 Legal Services Champion award to the Small Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) Legal Clinic at The University of Akron School of Law.

The SEED Legal clinic provides low-cost legal assistance to emerging businesses in Northeastern Ohio. The clinic, in turn, provides law students the opportunity to gain hands-on legal experience.

“This is the first time we are honoring a member of the legal profession during small business week,” said Gil Goldberg, district director of the Cleveland district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Every year since John F. Kennedy, the president of the United States has set a week aside in May to honor small businesses in various ways.”

The SBA recognizes small businesses and other organizations that create jobs, lift local economies, and give back charitably to the communities where they live and work.

Accepting the award was Gary Springs, director of the SEED Legal Clinic.

“Gary has helped a lot of people with the SEED Legal Clinic and has a good reputation here,” Goldberg said “Gary’s the driver and has helped a lot of small businesses get started, grow and mature.”

Goldberg then shared a few testimonials of business owners who utilized the clinic’s services in the past.

“Their work and insight,” Goldberg read from one testimony, “Allowed me and my business partners to focus on what we do best, rather than be bogged down and navigating the legal processes.”

In addition to his role as director, Springs is a clinical professor at The University of Akron School of Law.

“The students really do most of the work and I’m the supervisor that keeps it on track,” Springs said. “I want to thank our partners that we work with: Small Business Development Centers, SCORE Akron, The Urban League, Akron Global Business Accelerator and Youngstown Business Incubator. Through our collaborations we get very good work from them and we’re very appreciative. The Lennar Foundation has funded some of our activities and we also work with Summa Health System and I think that has been a good relationship as well.”

While Springs heads the SEED Legal Clinic, he feels strongly that its continued success helping small businesses is a group effort.

“I’d like to thank my colleagues Joanne Saul and Maureen Davis,” he said. “They’re really very supportive and make it a pleasure to come to work every day.”

Springs said that the award is a great recognition for the SEED clinic.

“We like working with small businesses, particularly those who can’t afford legal services,” he said. “The students do a terrific job. It’s a very nice prestigious award. I’m happy to win it but I really think it’s a shared award with the students and my colleagues.”

For more information on The University of Akron’s School of Law and the SEED Legal Clinic visit www.uakron.edu/law.