HAST1404MZp022

Hastings Alumni Mag-Spring 2014

{ ENTERPRISE } 22 SPRING 2014 understand California’s population and promote the economy and job growth.” The program gives students the chance to provide corporate assistance to early-stage tech and biotech companies under the supervision of leading attorneys throughout the Bay Area. In a very real sense, it’s a win-win-win for all three parties involved: The students get hands-on training, the client gets pro bono legal advice, and the participating lawyers get to be part of a bold new approach to teaching. “Firms see themselves as shaping law school education,” Feldman says. Before reaching the Startup Legal Garage, companies from across industries—including mobile, payments, gaming, hardware, and identity protection—are vetted by incubators such as the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, Hackers/ Founders, Mozilla WebFWD, Black Founders, and Girls in Tech. Guided by their lawyer-mentors, the students help clients deal with the issues that drive tech businesses, such as entity formation and structuring, IP strategies, and privacy. In the seminar portion of the program, students share what they’re working on—with confidential information removed— which helps bring doctrine alive. “Hypos are not from casebooks but from real clients,” Feldman says. “Students are studying law as it evolves, not decadesold cases.” One of the Startup Legal Garage’s first participants, Christopher Masterson ’13, worked with Skive it. (He’s now an associate at Sidley Austin in Palo Alto.) The program, which he participated in during his third year of law school, began with weekly lectures by entrepreneurs and tech company in-house counselors. “We learned the jargon and got used to the startup space,” Masterson explains, “and we heard varying perspectives on the industry—not just legal but economic and Bridging Tech’s Gender and Racial Gap UC Hastings’ social mission informs every program at the law school, and Startup Legal Garage is no exception. Senior fellow Nnena Ukuku—a Bay Area attorney who provides legal counsel to both startups and corporate clients—is charged with finding women and minority founders who can gain access to the tech sector through the program’s services. To do so, Ukuku works closely with incubators and community groups that are “organized around a particular affinity,” including Women 2.0, Black Founders, and Girls in Tech, as well as trade organizations like the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Those groups vet the companies, giving program administrators assurance that they’re not fly-by-night operations. “The incubators sort and make sure the inventors are product ready, and have the kind of matters we want students to do,” Professor Robin Feldman explains. In addition to pure legal advice, many startups need regulatory guidance, particularly in the areas of immigration and privacy. The goal, according to Ukuku, is to provide services to people who don’t already have power or connections. “This actually moves the needle and helps the community rise up,” says Ukuku, who in 2012 was named one of Forbes’ Women Changing the World for her work with Black Founders Startup Ventures. “Legal work is a huge cost center for a lot of companies, and we want to give women and minority founders a level playing field.” The gap between blacks and whites is directly connected to technology, Ukuku adds. Assisting minority-owned companies “helps the whole community,” she says. “Other minorities begin to think, ‘I can be like Mark Zuckerberg.’” “ This actually moves the needle and helps the community rise up.” —Nnena Ukuku “ The program was everything I wish I’d had in law school.” —Justin Hovey, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman


Hastings Alumni Mag-Spring 2014
To see the actual publication please follow the link above