Small Business Clinic
Professor Gouvin strives to incorporate the experience of practicing law into his courses. In his large classrooms he frequently uses role playing exercises and problems drawn from the "real world." In smaller classes he has structured entire courses around simulated client representations. He has found, however, that in professional education there is no substitute for live client contact.
In 2002 he developed the Small Business Clinic at Western New England University School of Law to provide his business law students with the kind of clinical experience that law schools have long provided to litigation-oriented law students. The Clinic is one of the cornerstone programs of Western New England University's Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
The Small Business Clinic started as a collaboration with the Springfield Technical Community College's Scibelli Enterprise Center. The Enterprise Center operates a state-of-the-art business incubator and when the Clinic first began it got its clients almost exclusively from the incubator. The idea behind the incubator is to provide office infrastructure and technical support for small enterprises so the entrepreneurs can focus on growing their businesses. Since commencing operations in 1999 the Springfield Business Incubator has had a great deal of success in launching businesses. A write-up in the Springfield Republican provides some detail on the incubator's success.
Within a few years, the Small Business Clinic grew to the point where it needed clients beyond the incubatoris now its serves businesses throughout the Pioneer Valley. After the creation of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Prof. Gouvin handed off the teachiing responsibilities in the Small Business Clinic to Prof. Robert Statchen, who has run the Clinic since the fall of 2006.
To read more about the beginnings of the Small Business Clinic at Western New England University, click here.
To read more about the development of business clinics at law schools across North America, click here.
To read more about the strong entrepreneurial culture in the City of Springfield, click here.