Interested in Business? We can Help
From The Carolyn S. Chambers Center for Law and Entrepreneurship
Are you interested in business? Do you enjoy working with entrepreneurs? Are you yourself an entrepreneur in the making? The Carolyn S. Chambers Center for Law and Entrepreneurship has three programs for you!
- The Technology Entrepreneurship Program (TEP)
- The Law and Entrepreneurship Student Association (LESA)
- The Small Business Clinic (SBC)
The Technology Entrepreneurship Program is a cross-campus summer program in which teams composed of JD students, MBA students, and graduate students in selected disciplines are formed to evaluate and develop new technologies, and – with sufficient luck – to launch actual businesses based on these technologies. Each four-member student team screens a number of technologies invented by top research scientists at the University of Oregon, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL), Portland State University, Oregon State University, and Oregon Health Sciences University. Each team then decides whether there is a reasonable opportunity to use any of these technologies as the basis for a marketable product or service. The student teams are fully supported by advisers with broad experience in technology commercialization. Both 1L’s and 2L’s are eligible to apply for participation in the TEP, and those who are selected are paid a modest stipend for their summer work.
In 2010 and 2011, Oregon Law students and TEP Fellows Liz Holsapple and Nick Boehm, along with UO physics student Yonatan Schultz, developed a particularly promising technology into an actual start-up business that they dubbed “Mosaic Genetics.” In 2011, the team earned the award for the “Best Written Business Plan” at the University of Texas’ Moot Corp Business Plan Competition, the “Super Bowl” of the numerous business-plan competitions held around the world each year. Now known as Mosaic Genetics LLC, the start-up company is in the process of negotiating licensing agreements. The three original team members are continuing to work together to bring the technology to market and the business to profitability. Although the actual formation of a start-up company out of a technology developed in the TEP is relatively unusual, it can and does happen.
The Law and Entrepreneurship Student Association, in which all law students are eligible to participate, meets once per month. The members of the LESA Board of Directors plan five or more events each year – including, for example, forums on the “Law of Beer” and on the role of “In-House Counsel.” LESA also frequently coordinates or cosponsors major conferences on topics of interest to law students. LESA provides some of its own funding by marketing wine with a “U of O School of Law” label, and by printing business cards for sale to law students.
The Small Business Clinic has served more than 80 students and 200 clients since its founding in 2004. Each semester, selected third-year law students – who work under the supervision of two practicing attorneys who double as clinical instructors – provide advice to business owners on a variety of legal issues, including entity formation and contract and lease drafting. The legal advice is free to the clients, who are responsible only for government filing fees and similar out-of-pocket costs.
Each SBC student is expected to assist two clients. The student is responsible for scheduling an initial meeting with each client, drafting a limited engagement letter, drafting all necessary legal documents, and scheduling a final meeting in which the student presents and explains all legal work completed for the client. In addition, each SBC student is required to attend a weekly SBC seminar.