Page 34 - Briefcase V35 Number 1
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COMMUNITY OUTREACH






            3  WARD – ENTREPRENEURS
             RD
            Marques Raven dreams of someday owning a commercial bakery. His
            wife, Jenee’, envisions herself in a large studio leading yoga and self-help
            classes. In the meantime, they operate their start-ups from their Third
            Ward home — baking vegan cookies and cupcakes and teaching the way
            to healthier lives — and look to a clinical program at the University of
            Houston Law Center to help them reach their goals.
            The school’s Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic
            is working in conjunction with the SURE Program (Stimulating
            Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship) at the Bauer College of
            Business. The joint effort is part of a major initiative announced in
            October by UH President Renu Khator to help revitalize the Third
            Ward neighborhood encircling the main campus. The ambitious
            program, she said, is designed to support efforts in education, arts,
            health and economic development with the purpose of empowering the
            community to transform itself.
            Under the direction of Visiting Assistant Professor Christopher Heard,
            UH law students and supervising attorneys help budding entrepreneurs
            with myriad legal matters involved in getting a business off the ground
            or expanding an existing enterprise.
            “I am very excited about our new partnership with Bauer’s SURE
            Program,” Heard said. “It is a wonderful opportunity for clinic students   and whether they could otherwise afford legal services,” said Heard, who
            to gain hands-on experience representing entrepreneurs and small   practiced law for 12 years, representing clients with the structuring,
            businesses, while simultaneously contributing to the economic   negotiation and documentation of a wide array of commercial lending
            empowerment initiatives under way in the Third Ward.   transactions. “We also look for projects that will give our student
            “By providing needed legal representation and participating in the   attorneys an enriching educational experience and have a positive
                                                                   impact on our community.”
            superb educational programs offered by SURE, our student attorneys
            will support the entrepreneurs who are establishing and strengthening   “The opportunity to work with clients like Jenee’ and Marques is exactly
            businesses in our community.”                          what drew me to the clinic,” said Rebecca Sheinbaum, a second-year law
            Each semester the Entrepreneurship and Community Development   student who is representing the budding baker and lifestyle guru. “I was
                                                                   looking for a way to hone my skills with real-world cases and to work
                                                Clinic, formerly   with real-world clients. The clinic enables me to use those skills to help
                                                known as the       local businesses and offers a truly exceptional hands-on experience.”
                                                Transactional Clinic,
                                                accepts as many as   “I just think it is a blessing; being part of this one program can be part
                                                11 students who    of a whole movement,” Jenee’ Pierre Raven said recently as she sat in the
                                                typically work with   small, bright, newly constructed studio at the back of her house. “It also
                                                three or four different  helps the law students get experience and be a part of it all.”
                                                clients. In addition   Raven works full-time as a human resources administrator for a
                                                to working with    hospital in the Texas Medical Center. She holds a B.S. in psychology
                                                the Ravens, current   from Sam Houston State University, a master’s in public administration
                                                clients include    from Texas Southern University, and is a trained mediator. She has
                                                tutoring services,   operated her Woman’s Earth studio at various locations over the years,
                                                general contractors,   referring to it as “a spa and wellness center, a sacred and safe place for
                                                a bridal boutique and   self-love and healing.” She and a cadre of trained “partners” teach yoga,
                                                several non-profit   meditation, dance and other mental and physical exercises with a touch
                                                organizations.     of spirituality and offer free “Holi Mamma”workshops in pre- and
                                                “Clients are chosen   postnatal care and childbirth led by a “doula” from Texas Children’s
                                                based on how well   Hospital.
                                                their legal needs   Raven has long been active in the community, volunteering with Project
                                                match up with the   Row Houses, programs supporting single moms and other social
                                                clinic’s capabilities   activities where she can make a contribution.



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