Law School Students Aid Local Entrepreneurs
When the University of Chicago Law School opened a legal clinic nearly 10 years ago to help entrepreneurs, one of the goals was to kickstart economic growth in underdeveloped neighborhoods.
Take the Perfect Peace Cafe & Bakery for example.
The West 79th Street shop sits on a block just west of Racine Avenue that features a vacant lot, another bakery that's closed and a few buildings whose windows have been covered with newspapers or replaced with plywood.
So the new business has been a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
"They say it's like being in Hyde Park, or they don't have to go to Beverly. They can come right here in their own community," said Julie Welborn, who opened the cafe in July with her business partner, Denise Nicholes.
Welborn said that she can't put a value on the guidance provided by the U of C law students who work at the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship.
The clinic helped the new business owners write and negotiate contracts to build the cafe, create loan agreements with investors, acquire business permits and understand regulations on workplace safety and payroll taxes.
"It was just a miracle how everything came together," Welborn said. "There were questions I never knew I had to ask, and they had no problem coming into the community.
"At any time we needed to negotiate with the contractors, architects or landlords, they were a part of it. To this day, anything I do, I run by them first. In that alone, I don't even know how to p