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  The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected many businesses, but the hardest hit have undoubtedly been small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, according to Morgan Morrow, a 3L and clinic student for the Law Center’s Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic.
The clinic, directed by Clinical Associate Professor Christopher Heard, is largely run by law students and helps clients with a wide range of transactional business needs such as entity formation, contract drafting, buying and selling equities and assets, and connecting clients to legal knowledge and resources that can further aid them in developing their businesses or nonprofits.
“The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic has transitioned to virtual operations and remains fully available to help entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations during this tumultuous time,” Morrow said. “The clinic’s students, faculty, and staff are awed by our clients’ drive and persistence in the face of the many challenges created by COVID-19. We are proud to assist our clients along their entrepreneurial journey.”
Many of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development
Clinic’s clients have reported a significant decline in demand
for their goods and services due to the economic effects of the pandemic. Morrow said that lack of access to capital has been a persistent issue faced by many entrepreneurs, especially those from low-income or under-resourced communities. Other issues that have affected small business owners are having to take care of sick family members, becoming ill themselves, lack of access to child care and housing insecurity.
However, these obstacles aren’t stopping clinic students from doing what they can to assist small business owners in the community.
The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic
has partnered with the Emancipation Economic Development Council’s Third Ward Small Business Training Program, which helps participants create a solid foundation for their business by giving them the essential tools to implement their ideas or grow their existing business in the Historic Third Ward. Despite the headwinds caused by the pandemic, Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic students have formed eight new business entities for Third Ward Small Business Training Program graduates.
In addition, the clinic also partners with the SURETM Program at the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. The program’s mission is to provide an educational platform that facilitates a value-added partnership between UH students, industry experts, and entrepreneurs from under-resourced communities by offering free financial and business education, business consulting, and preparation for entrepreneurs to access capital. Each semester, students give educational presentations on business law topics to SURETM Program entrepreneurs; despite the necessary cancellation of the spring in-person presentations due to the pandemic, the students quickly rose to the occasion to provide training in series to entrepreneurs through the program.
Two of the University of Houston Law Center’s leading scholars in immigration law, Clinical Professor Geoffrey Hoffman and Professor Emeritus Michael A. Olivas, provided analysis and responded to media inquiries about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in
the case of Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California in a June press conference held via Zoom.
Olivas said that while the decision is a temporary reprieve for DACA recipients, their future status in the U.S. remains murky.
“This could be dragged out for a long time and as we come up on the election cycle,” Olivas said. “It is a victory for the DREAMers, almost 800,000 of them, but at the end of the day all they get is extra time. At its very best, DACA did not provide a pathway for legalization or citizenship. They still do not have that pathway, and it would require Congressional action and presidential support.”
Hoffman highlighted several principal issues – judicial review and reviewability and the Administrative Procedure Act.
“The Court in the plurality decision was very clear that the Department of Homeland Security acted arbitrarily and capriciously,” Hoffman said. “What this means is that the Administrative Procedure Act was violated. The government was arguing it had unfettered discretion and that the Supreme Court had no ability to review the DACA decision.
“This is important because we need to look at this as a judicial review and reviewability decision. The Supreme Court issued a resounding rejection of the administration’s position and saying the Supreme Court does have the ability to review decisions even if they are within the discretion of the administration.”
Briefcase 2020

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