The Business Clinic
Welcome to UEA Business Clinic. We are a new service set up by UEA Law Clinic to provide free advice to SMEs in Norfolk and Suffolk. We bring together experts from within UEA, from law firm Birketts LLP, and from business support organisation Menta.
Once per month (to start with) we run a day of advice sessions where SME owners and managers can come to the UEA Law Clinic for some individual help and advice on issues that are troubling them. Meetings are by appointment and last approximately 45 minutes each.
Our advisors can advise on a wide range of legal and practical issues affecting SMEs, drawing on our team's wide range of expertise.
As this is part of the UEA Law Clinic, students will be present at the meeting and help to run the service. This gives them valuable experience of real world business concerns and enables us to help more clients.
Your meeting will be free of charge. Some advisors may charge for undertaking further work. However, they will discuss with you what your options are.
Applying to us
If you need help from the clinic please complete this form and we will get back to you within approximately ten days. If we think we can help, we will arrange an appointment for you to see an advisor from UEA's Norwich Business School, a solicitor from Birketts LLP, or an advisor from Menta, depending on which we think is most appropriate.
It may be that you need further help after that and if so we can arrange for you to see someone else in the team, including perhaps our civil mediator Ben Dures or our workplace mediator Dionne Dury.
Your appointment will take place at UEA Law Clinic on the UEA Campus in Norwich (see Find Us) and will be free of charge. Exceptionally, we may agree to advise you on Teams. Please see our important Terms and Conditions including information about who is advising you.
All meetings will take place on a Friday - specifically the second Friday of each month. If you are not able to accommodate this timeslot, we are sorry but we are unable to help you. It is certainly possible that in due course we will expand our days but as we have just launched, and the law clinic is busy with many other services, this isn't possible at the moment.
"We know there is a real need for free and low-cost help for small businesses and start-ups in East Anglia. We hope to fill that gap, providing advice and support on practical and legal issues."Polly MorganLaw Clinic Director
The advice we can offer
We can offer help and advice on most issues facing businesses. Here is an idea of the sort of things we can help with:
- Setting up a company or business - things to think about
- Terms and conditions
- Problems with a supplier or another business
- Business survival or restructuring
- Expansion or business direction/growth/products/services
- Grants and funding
- Operations, quality, customer satisfaction, costs, service delivery issues
- Business integration (merger and acquisition implementation) issues
- Resolving disputes in the workplace
- Intellectual property
- Employment law
- Supply chain issues
- Social media and marketing
- Succession planning
- Selling or acquiring a business or company
- Governance issues
- It's all getting on top of me
- Debts of your business
You are welcome to complete the form if your issue is not covered here, and we will see if we can help.
If, however, you are seeking advice on how to recover money owed to you such as an unpaid client invoice, we are not able to assist unless it is a matter of how to revise your business model or terms and conditions to reduce the change of reoccurrence. If it is about recovering a debt, there is lots of helpful information about making a money claim (aka small claims court) on the government website. The process for seeking money through small claims court is specifically designed to be used by someone without legal representation.
Who's Who in the Business Clinic
Polly MorganDirector, UEA Law Clinic
As Director of the UEA Law Clinic, Polly was the founder of the Business Clinic and has overall responsibility for it. She is an Associate Professor in the Law School and an experienced solicitor.
Andrew VassalloAssociate Professor in Business Management
Andy has over 25 years’ experience of working for PLCs, Global Corporations and Entrepreneurial Organisations in the manufacturing sector through periods of growth, recession, restructuring and corporate acquistion and merger. As an R & D technical specialist he received national recognition, representing the United Kingdom as lead expert on the global ISO technical committee responsible for the development of Standards for testing hydraulic filtration products. Andy is an Associate Professor at Norwich Business School and continues to be highly engaged with regional businesses in his role as MBA Course Leader and providing executive education programmes to the business community.
Andrew FearneProfessor of Value Chain Management
Andrew Fearne is Professor of value chain management at Norwich Business School. His main areas of research are consumer behaviour, inter-organisational relationships and value chain analysis. He is the founding editor of the International Journal of Supply Chain Management, author of over 100 academic journal articles and the 14th Adelaide Thinker in Residence.
His innovative approach to applied research has resulted in over 70 externally funded research projects worth over £4m, with organisations large and small, from around the world, and at all stages of the supply chain. Prominent amongst existing projects is ‘Who Buys My Food?’, currently in its nineteenth year, in partnership with Tesco and dunnhumby, generating behavioural insights from the analysis of supermarket loyalty card data for small food and drink producers, to support their business planning and marketing decision-making.
His work in the area of organisational justice and buyer-supplier relationships includes an innovative application in the context of value chain analysis, which has informed process improvements across a range of supply chains from wine, mangoes, pork and rapeseed oil, to sports cars, security systems and the delivery of respite care.
William KempAssociate, Birketts LLP
William is a solicitor and part of the Corporate team at Birketts LLP, the Business Clinic's law firm partner. He has a pragmatic and balanced approach, and enjoys working with a wide variety of businesses. He deals with a wide range of corporate matters, acting for a range of clients including SMEs and individuals. He advises on a range of corporate transactions, corporate recovery work, and franchising.
Alex TillCEO, Menta
Alex is CEO of Menta, one of the Business Clinic's partner organisations. He has a passion for business and is inspired by meeting entrepreneurial and creative people. He is driven to build on Suffolk and Norfolk's success and national recognition as a thriving area to live and work. Alex is also chair of the National Enterprise Network which works alongside government and businesses to develop and support enterprise.
Dionne DuryLecturer in Employment Law and Workplace Mediator
Dionne is an accredited workplace mediator with a background in Employment Law. She has over 17 years’ experience as an employment lawyer advising businesses and employees on a wide range of workplace disputes. Prior to relocating back to her home county of Norfolk in 2021, Dionne was Director of successful South-West based business, Resolution at Work, providing Workplace Mediation, Neutral Assessments, Workplace Investigations and Conflict Coaching. Dionne has worked for SME’s, charities and public sector companies across a variety of different sectors including local government, education, health and social care. Projects that Dionne has worked on have been shortlisted in the CIPD Wales awards as well as being recognised for improving employee engagement and creating conflict positive working environments.
Dionne is an active Committee member for the Civil Mediation Council’s Workplace and Employment group. She provides the workplace mediation service to the Law Clinic.
Ben DuresSolicitor Mediator
Ben Dures is a qualified solicitor and mediator, with over 25 years’ experience in dispute resolution. He offers free mediation service to anyone in the Norfolk area who is unable to afford the services of a paid mediator.
The mediation is for 'civil law' matters. Civil mediation covers most types of dispute, but does not include family or employment cases. If we think that your Business Clinic issues are suitable for civil mediation we can arrange for them to be referred to him.
We would like to thank the following for help with setting up this clinic:
- Ian Callaghan, UEA's Chief Resource Officer for funding for our Gateway to Growth interns Marcus Stearn and Emma Bullen
- Liz Davis-Smith, Business Development Manager at UEA
- Leo Lonergan and Laura Green in UEA's IT department and Penelope James our data compliance specialist for help with technology and compliance
- Dr Scott Summers, Lecturer in Business Law, for help with our triage process
- Selina Watts, Associate Professor of Law, for help with student promotion and recruitment
- Menta for sourcing funding for us
- Rashmi Dewan from UEA's development office for photographs