Passages of Hope andJustice 9 Legal services for entrepreneurs It happens every day in cities across America: thousands of women commute to work, wearing sensible flats and toting their more fashionable, less practical shoes in a purse or briefcase. However, this requires commuters to always carry a spare set of shoes, which can be cumber- some and heavy, taking up space and even making a mess. A few years ago,“Ana” began turning this real-life experience into a business idea in San Francisco. Ana’s idea was to design and market an attractive, foldable shoe, one that wouldn’t bring dirt from the city streets into her carrying bag.“You hear about this all the time.Rather than live with a problem, someone decides to do something about it,” says Phillip Lee, an attorney in Mintz Levin’s Palo Alto office.“The challenge for inexperienced entrepreneurs is to take an idea like this and get it into stores.” That challenge led Ana—by all accounts an inspiring, resourceful young woman with little formal education—to attend a clinic held by Legal Services for Entrepreneurs (LSE), an economic justice project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. LSE and its participating law firms provide pro bono legal services to low-income individuals, includ- ing women and people of color, who want to start or develop for-profit businesses, and to for-profit businesses committed to community economic development. At the clinic, Ana met Mintz Levin attorney Geri Rochino, who advised her on intellectual property issues and intro- duced her to others in the firm who could help, including Phillip, Carol Peters, andTaliTuchin. The Mintz Levin team has helped Ana form an LLC, seek financing, and enter into agreements with consultants.“To her credit, she’s done a lot of this on her own.Where we added value was to offer additional feedback and ask questions as lawyers and as business advisors,” says Phillip. There are other foldable shoes on the market. Still, after two years of research and refining her concept,“she’s very comfortable that what she has designed is unique,” says Carol.Ana’s patent application is pending. Finding Your Path