5 TIPS TO HELP YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR MEETING AND COLLABORATION WITH THE BLG VENTURE CLINIC
You have a business idea and need some assistance to draft documents. You have reached out to the BLG Venture Clinic (the “Clinic”) to set up an appointment. How can you best prepare for this meeting so you can ensure you receive the best possible service?
1. BE PREPARED TO PROVIDE A SIMPLIFIED DESCRIPTION OF YOUR BUSINESS
In order for us to properly provide you with services, we will need to understand your business. The more simply you can articulate your business the better. Even if we are preparing a standard document for you, it is important for us to understand what your business is because it may be subject to certain regulations. Before your meeting with the clinic, try to describe the nature of your business in a paragraph.
2. BE PREPARED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHY YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE SUCCESSFUL
During your meeting you may be asked, “why do you think your business plan will work?” We are not asking you this question to insult you. We are asking you this question to help us better understand your business. Perhaps you have discovered a way to provide an existing service more efficiently, or maybe you have created an entirely new product. Whatever the case, providing us with such information will be helpful in our understanding of your business.
3. PRIORITIZE WHAT SERVICES YOU ARE LOOKING TO RECEIVE FROM THE CLINIC
You may have long list of tasks that you need us to help you with. That is fine, however, it will be helpful for you and us if you prioritize what needs to be done first. Providing us with 1 or 2 tasks at a time will allow for a more efficient process in completing your checklist. The great thing about the clinic is that we can continue to work with a client for an extended period of time. Setting up a business takes time and rushing the process can lead to failure.
4. PLEASE BE PATIENT
Know that the process of preparing your documents will take some time. All the clinic participants are volunteers and do our best to prepare your documents in a timely manner. However, please note that the preparation of your documents is a multiple step process. After meeting with you we may have to conduct research or speak to the head of the clinic to clarify questions regarding your matter. Next, we will complete a draft of your document and send it to an advising lawyer for review. The expectation is that the advising lawyers will return the document with comments within 3 weeks after receiving it. Once we receive the advising lawyer’s comments, we may amend your document further before sending you the final product.
Again, our goal is to get you your product in a timely manner. Feel free to send us emails requesting an update on your file throughout the process. We would like to thank you in advance for your patience.
5. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE BLG CLINIC CANNOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE
If you are looking for legal advice, then you will likely have to see a lawyer. Clinic members are not allowed to provide legal advice since we are still law students. However, we can provide you with legal information. The following provides an explanation of legal information and legal advice:
“Legal information: explains the law and the legal system in general terms. Such information is not tailored to a specific case.
Legal advice: applies the law, including statute and case law and legal principles to a particular situation. It provides recommendations about what course of action would best suit the facts of the case and what the person wants to achieve.”
An example of how this may impact the services you receive from the clinic can be explained in the context of preparing a Shareholders’ Agreement. While the clinic may help you prepare a Shareholder’s Agreement, or provide you with a list of the different type of restrictions that can be attached to shares, we cannot advise you on what restrictions you should attach to such shares based on meeting you had with potential investors.
If you are unsure whether your matter requires legal information or advice, still make an appointment. Even if your matter falls under the category of legal advice, there may be other matters that we are qualified to assist you with.
For more information contact the BLG Venture Clinic*
Suleiman Semalulu is member of the BLG Venture Clinic and is a third-year law student at the Faculty of Law, University of Calgary.
*Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation and the University of Calgary's decision to move all in-person classes to online delivery, the clinic has cancelled all drop-in hours and has limited appointments for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. We ask you contact us directly at email@example.com for more information.
 Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta,”Legal Information vs. Legal Advice. What’s the Difference?” (2019): online: CPLEA < http://www.cplea.ca/wp-content/uploads/LegalInfovsLegalAdvice.pdf>.
Blog posts are by students at the Business Venture Clinic. Student bios appear under each post.