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Clinic gives student real-world view of lawyering
By the time they graduate from law school, students are well versed in contracts, constitutional law and criminal procedure, they have participated in oral arguments and attended many lectures. Fewer of them have navigated the complex IRS regulations on non-profit organizations, or written and filed for articles of incorporation on their behalf.
But Megan Fox has. Fox was enrolled in the legal clinic of the Innovation Advancement Program, formerly the Technology Ventures Services Group, and worked with ASU law, business and engineering students to provide legal and business consulting services to Arizona entrepreneurs.
The 2010 alumna of the College of Law, worked on three projects, including Africa Health New Horizons (AHNH), a nonprofit started by a Congolese-born physician who needed help launching his business from the ground up. Fox worked alongside Jennifer Lefere, an attorney at Hool Law Group in Phoenix, which mentors IAP students, and IAP director
. Together, they created and filed the appropriate government paperwork for Kigabo Mbazumutima, whose dream is to change healthcare for his people in Africa.
Fox worked with other clients, too, preparing a supply chain assessment, performing an intellectual property audit for a start-up software venture and handling other business consulting functions.
“I want to do transactional work, and that’s what the clinic does,” said Fox, who has a B.A. in Economics from Colorado College and had contemplated getting an MBA before enrolling in law school.
The most important skill she has learned in the clinic is keeping clients on task. “When you’re a lawyer and you have to bill your clients for every 20 minutes, you do them a disservice if you don’t keep them on point,” she said. “I’ve learned how important client management skills are.”
Fox said she gained great insight from working with Lefere and Tom Fulcher, another IAP mentor and president of The Idea Gardener, a Valley business consulting firm. “It’s the best way to learn, working with real professionals, because there’s only so much you can learn in a class room. You get passionate about something by watching someone who is doing it,” she said.
Students enrolled in the IAP should be self-motivated, organized and good at balancing their class work with their clinic responsibilities, she said. “You get out of the projects what you put into them, and how far you go is up to you,” Fox said. “You have to be somebody who is not afraid to jump in and get started.”
She called Menkhus a “great mentor who really cares about all of his clients and wants to see them and us succeed. He is as actively involved in all of the projects as he can be.”
Fox had other good hands-on experiences during law school, including an internship at Intel Corp. in Chandler and an externship at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in Scottsdale. She hopes to stay in Phoenix and work in intellectual property law, and she continues to volunteer as a part of the AHNH team.