2Ls Xia Hwang and Edgar Vargas are bridging the gap between students and startups with a new organization called Tech x UCH. The idea was conceptualized last spring, when then-1Ls Hwang and Vargas started chatting during a break from their Property course and realized they shared an interest in startups and technology.
“We talked about how we're almost in this bubble of to-be lawyers at UC Hastings, and it seemed difficult to go out there and interact with startup founders,” Vargas recalls.
Hwang had become fascinated with intellectual property as an undergraduate research assistant to a UC Berkeley professor consulting a machine-learning entrepreneur. Vargas had spent nearly six years working for ImminentDesign, a startup that built web and mobile apps. Given UC Hastings' location near Silicon Valley, the pair felt that students needed more channels to penetrate the tech scene.
This led to the creation of Tech x UCH, which currently has around 20 members. The new student organization will educate students about opportunities to learn about startup law at UC Hastings, including new upcoming courses and the Startup Legal Garage, an application-based program (the brainchild of Professor Robin Feldman) that gives students real-world experience assisting firms with issues like patents and incorporation. It will also bring panels of attorneys and early-stage startup founders to campus to discuss career opportunities.
“We realized that students interested in startup law and legal tech didn't have a student organization to cater to them,” says Hwang, who is co-president along with Vargas. “With UC Hastings being located in the Bay Area, in the middle of all these great startups and technological innovations, we thought this would be the perfect place to give students an opportunity to hear from people in the field.”
The organization will not only cater to students looking to launch their own startups after graduation, but also those interested in counseling emerging companies at firms or in-house. It plans to help students network with actual startup executives and give administrators and faculty insight into the student body's needs and interests.
“Our goal is to be the bridge between the student body and the administration in bringing more startup-oriented programming here to UC Hastings and allowing students to have more opportunities to meet people in the field,” Hwang says.
Tech x UCH hosted an attorney panel with Nico Kerr '16 of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Nnena Ukuku of Venture Gained Legal, and Stephen Lim '14 of Perkins Coie LLP earlier this month and will continue to offer excellent informative and networking opportunities to UC Hastings students next semester. For more information on Tech x UCH, please click here.