Startup@BerkeleyLaw teams up with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, giving entrepreneurs access to legal experts and training

For entrepreneurs who wish they could wander into an attorney’s office and get expert advice on forming or protecting a new company, help is on the way.

The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center (the Center) in San Francisco is teaming up with Startup@BerkeleyLaw — a joint initiative of UC Berkeley School of Law’s Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy (BCLBE) and Berkeley Center for Law & Technology (BCLT) — to help entrepreneurs navigate the legal landscape with trainings and office hours hosted by top startup law experts.

Beginning September 29, 2015, world-renowned Berkeley Law professors and leading practitioners will teach Basic Startup Law and advanced topics courses at the Center. These two-hour sessions — offered twice a month — will tackle topics like entity formation, data breach, privacy, IP strategy, and founder’s equity. Legal Tuesdays at the Center will include office hours, where entrepreneurs can meet with attorneys one-on-one.

Startup@BerkeleyLaw will also be offering additional courses on more advanced legal topics, starting with a session on data breach on October 20, 2015 (see below for the full 2015 schedule of Startup@BerkeleyLaw classes at the Center).

This program comes at a time when do-it-yourself legal services have promised to streamline the legal process for new founders, yet the cost of making mistakes early on remains quite high.

“We’ve seen a number of founders forego professional legal assistance at an early stage, only to be forced to address those mistakes at critical points in the future — when the stakes, and costs, are much higher,” says Adam Sterling, executive director of BCLBE and a former startup attorney.

“It’s important for founders to understand what they can do by themselves and what they should engage attorneys for. The Startup@BerkeleyLaw courses aren’t going to replace attorneys, but they can help founders learn how to engage with those attorneys more effectively,” he adds. “We’re witnessing a desire among founders to be smarter about how they interact with attorneys, which is why this partnership is so exciting.”

In the same vein, James Dempsey, executive director of BCLT, is finding that small companies are particularly caught off guard by the legal landmines around privacy and data security.

“Privacy and data security issues are becoming more and more important, even essential, to companies. While in the past, startups had often delayed thinking about their data security issues until they were more mature, now any company that collects personal data — or for that matter, any company that has proprietary data (which is everybody) — is a potential target,” says Dempsey.

“They need to understand their liability from day one and develop a strategy for their company, no matter how small,” he adds.

That’s not to paint a frightening picture for entrepreneurs. On the contrary, a little knowledge — in particular, knowing what you don’t know — can go a long way in making sound legal decisions that grow with a company over time.

The goal of the Center’s partnership with Startup@BerkeleyLaw is to give entrepreneurs a fundamental understanding of legal issues and identify the key resources and services needed to ensure their businesses are properly formed and protected.

Sign up for the Basic Startup Law course and check out our 2015 schedule for upcoming Startup@BerkeleyLaw classes at the Center:

September 29: Basic Startup Law 9–11am, Office Hours 11am-1pm

October 20: Advanced Topic — Data Breach, 9–11am

November 3: Basic Startup Law 9–11am, Office Hours 11am-1pm

November 10: Advanced Topic — Intellectual Property Strategy, 9–11am

November 17: Advanced Topic — Founders Equity, 9–11am

December 1: Basic Startup Law 9–11am, Office Hours 11am-1pm

December 8: Advanced Topic — Patents, 9–11am

The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center is a non-profit that provides entrepreneurs with access to quality resources, training, networking, and mentors — all at no charge.

Legal trainings and office hours at the Center are intended only to provide an educational experience and overview of legal concepts and issues. These programs are not a substitute for obtaining legal advice and neither the legal trainings nor office hours create an attorney-client relationship.

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