Exploring a Startup Nation

January Term Class Travels to Israel To Study Business, Innovation
Law School students

Class participants Ben Elron ’20, Edward Ruse ’20, Vicente Valdes ’19, Steven Weiser ’19, Alexandra Butler ’20, MacLane Taggart ’19, Professor Michal Barzuza, investor relations expert Iris Lubitch, Ledah Geller ’20, Jessica Rennert ’20, Emily Ostertag ’20, Cosi Piehler ’19, Sara Frank ’21, Hao Yu ’19, Lijia Chen ’19, Scott Myers ’19, Christiana Zgourides ’20 and Tomi Olutoye ’20. Photo courtesy Michal Barzuza and Dotan Oliar

February 6, 2019

A group of 16 University of Virginia School of Law students recently traveled to Israel to learn more about how the nation’s laws shape its entrepreneurial culture.

Students in the January term class Israeli Business Law and Innovation, taught by Professors Michal Barzuza and Dotan Oliar, who are originally from Israel, visited a number of institutions that help shape the startup economy there, including the Israeli Supreme Court, the Israeli Business Court, a research incubator at Rabin Medical Center and the startup Drove, which developed a platform for nongovernmental organizations to raise money.

“I developed a deeper understanding of what makes Israeli entrepreneurs so successful and it challenged me to think of ways these lessons could be applied in the United States,” said third-year law student Scott Myers.

The class also featured speakers on corporate law, intellectual property law, investor relations and venture capital. Guy Carmi, who graduated from the LL.M. program in 2005 and is now a partner with Lipa Meir & Co., hosted a session, as did other experts with connections to the University of Virginia.

“We look at how ideas and research are created and commercialized from a practical and a comparative perspective,” Barzuza said of the two-credit course.

Apart from the curricular component, students had time to see the sights in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre

    Scott Myers ’19 poses at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Courtesy Scott Myers ’19

  • Law School students

    Students listen to Guy Carmi LL.M. ’05 speak about the Israeli Constitution. Courtesy Guy Carmi

  • Jerusalem

    A view of Jerusalem from the Supreme Court captured by Tomi Olutoye ’20.

  • Israeli Supreme Court

    The class visits the Israeli Supreme Court, where participants met with Justice Daphne Barak-Erez, formerly dean of the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law and UVA Law visiting professor. Courtesy Michal Barzuza

  • Western Wall

    A man prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Courtesy MacLane Taggart ’19

  • Law School students

    The students visit The Time, a government-supported incubator that specializes in Internet and new media startups. Courtesy Michal Barzuza

  • Hummus

    Class participants enjoyed authentic Israeli food during the trip, including hummus. Courtesy Tomi Olutoye ’20

  • Rabin Medical Center Innovation Lab

    The class visits the Rabin Medical Center Innovation Lab, hosted by Chief of Neurosurgery Sagi Harnof, a former UVA medical resident. Courtesy Michal Barzuza

  • Jerusalem

    A photo taken by Olutoye near the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

  • Jerusalem

    Jerusalem at night, with a view of the Dome of the Rock. Courtesy Scott Myers ’19

  • Tel Aviv District Court

    The class visits the Tel Aviv District Court, with Professor Dotan Oliar, far right. Courtesy Michal Barzuza and Dotan Oliar

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