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Entrepreneurial Law Resources

Guide Coverage


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:

  • business organizations
  • tax
  • intellectual property

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.

  • A Nutshell, Hornbook, or other study aid (e.g., on West Academic) can introduce you to important concepts, leading cases, important statutes.
  • Look for jurisdiction-specific practice manuals--e.g., Washington Practice (Westlaw), Washington treatises on Lexis, or WSBA deskbooks (Lexis, Fastcase, Casemaker).

Use government websites to find guidance and forms.

Use practical guidance sections of online services to find checklists, tips, and overviews.

Research Guides

Research guides are compiled by librarians or subject specialists. They gather relevant resources for you to make your research more successful. 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