UVA Entrepreneurial Law Clinic Students Help Darden Startups Find Their Footing
Most attorneys leave law school and start their jobs before working directly with a client focused on growing a business. But students in the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law are able to act as general counsel for a startup company before they even graduate.
The clinic works in partnership with the Darden School of Business, which houses the MBA program at the University, to provide pro bono legal assistance to ventures participating in the Darden Business Incubator. Law students receive practical training through the clinic on how to advise startup companies and on drafting basic corporate documentation. The students then work directly with the entrepreneurs to create a legal plan for the business and execute related documents.
"Entrepreneurs are the only people in the world who are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid having to work 40 hours a week," said Rob C. Masri, a 1996 graduate of the Law School and director of the clinic. "We want the students in the clinic to develop the same sort of passion for this area of the law that the entrepreneurs have for their ventures."
Masri is an experienced corporate attorney and entrepreneur who raised $5 million to grow his own startup, Cardagin Networks Inc., a mobile customer loyalty platform. He teaches the semester-long class with lecturer Clare Lewis, a 2011 graduate of the Law School and associate at McGuireWoods specializing in venture capital, and instructor Pamela Rosen, an associate at Williams Mullen.
Rosen said the goal is for students to acquire "hard, tangible skills they can use, no matter what type of practice they begin after law school."