The funding, which results from the growth of a previous endowed gift from Turner, names the Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic at the law school. The clinic will offer students hands-on opportunities to assist individuals with legal matters, such as applying for tax-exempt status and drafting lease agreements, when they otherwise would not be able to afford representation.
“The Turner clinic sits at the intersection of law and business, reinforcing Vanderbilt’s strengths in working across disciplines to achieve viable solutions,” said Chris Guthrie, dean and John Wade–Kent Syverud Professor of Law. “This funding allows us to better support our students and faculty who provide this important legal representation to lower-income clients. We’re deeply grateful for this new opportunity.”
The clinic expands the imprint of the Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions, which brings together students from Vanderbilt’s divinity, education, law, management, medical and nursing schools to help them identify the values that motivate their work and partner across the professions to address society’s most challenging problems. Turner established the leadership program with a gift in 1994, and the endowed fund has grown considerably through prudent management, allowing for the establishment of the clinic.
Under the guidance of faculty mentors, students in the Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic will receive course credit as they hone legal skills in a range of transactional matters, including entity formation, governance, tax, contracts, employment, intellectual property and risk management. The clinic also will expose students to opportunities that arise in today’s rapidly evolving legal environment, which is explored in the school’s Program on Law and Innovation.
“I’m delighted to help establish this clinic at Vanderbilt Law School,” said Turner, chairman of the Cal Turner Family Foundation and emeritus member of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust. “By providing legal representation for low-income clients, the clinic will greatly support the Program for Moral Leadership’s goal of seeking solutions to complex social problems.”
Lauren Rogal, assistant clinical professor of law, will direct the Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic starting this fall.
“The clinic will benefit students interested in almost any area of transactional law,” Rogal said. “They’ll learn a broad array of transferrable lawyering skills and also promote inclusive economic growth by serving disadvantaged startup entrepreneurs—for example, people who didn’t finish high school or those who have been incarcerated. Their best option to support themselves may involve starting a business, and students will provide these clients direct legal support, as well as general community education on legal topics.”
Rogal recently joined the faculty of Vanderbilt Law School after completing a two-year clinical teaching fellowship at Georgetown University Law Center, where she earned an LL.M. in advocacy and supervised students in its Social Enterprise and Nonprofit Law Clinic. Prior to her fellowship, Rogal was an associate with Klamp & Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that represents nonprofits and social enterprises.