MadClass is Becoming a Thing

Jeffrey Glazer
September 23, 2015

When we last spoke about MadClass, a mere six months ago, we were discussing a survey used to sort people for services. At the heart of that post was the central theme that objective criteria can be established that would help determine the viability of applicants. The survey tool was not (and is not) intended to be a purely objective test; the question to admit or deny service still remains, at its decision-point, a subjective human-centered decision. However, a score can help humans make decisions.


So what is that score intended to do? What is the point of the decision making? Again, at its most obvious, the decision is about acceptance into the L&E Clinic for services. We have limited resources. Over the past summer we had 17 students working 40 hours per week which means we had 680 hours per week to dedicate to clients. If each student has, on average, 4 clients that is 10 hours per week per client, on average, to dedicate to the work we do. In the fall, we have 17 students, working on average 12-13 hours per week; that's a mere 221 collective hours per week to work on Clinic issues, or 3.25 hours per week per client. As I said: limited resources.


Thus, we have an application process. Not every applicant gets into the Clinic and access to the limited resources. There are a significant number of applicants that are not ready for services; or, even, simply prioritizing, don't present as compelling a case as other applicants. The survey helps us to prioritize our work and provide a framework for making acceptance decisions. However, there is still the issue of what to do with clients that are not accepted for services. Most of them cannot afford to pay for legal services (which is why they are applying to us in the first place!). So, the reality is that one of two things happens:

  1. nothing; the applicant will decide to go forward without legal services or legal documents in place
  2. self-help; the applicant will try to do the legal work themselves - writing Bylaws, filing trademarks, and drafting NDA's and client contracts.


Neither of these are particularly good options. But, in the absence of the Clinic (or money to pay for legal services), those are the only options. [ed note: there is a third option: find a different Clinic]. MadClass is an effort to aid people exploring these two options. 


MadClass (yes that is a link to the actual MadClass website!!) is an educational platform targeted at entrepreneurs to build entrepreneurial capacity. What does that mean? MadClass is a practically-minded site to give entrepreneurs the information they need to start and run their businesses. This information is spread far and wide throughout the internet, so we're not stating anything new; but MadClass will be a trusted repository - you can know that the information here is the information that you need written and designed for entrepreneurs, not lawyers or the general public.


For example, the first track of courses will be geared to non-profits. There will be a series of "courses" designed to provide practical information and guidance around non-profits. The first course is titled "Considerations Before Starting a Non-Profit." If you work through all of the classes in the track you will have formed a Wisconsin company and applied for 501c3 tax exempt status from the IRS. More courses will follow in other entity issues, securities, trademarks, patents, contracting, etc. 


We have begun work on developing content for the first "track" of "courses." We will launch in January 2016!