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USD, Connect launch law clinic for technology startups

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The University of San Diego School of Law is teaming up with Connect to launch a new Technology Entrepreneurship Law Clinic.

The clinic will provide USD law students with mentoring from practicing attorneys along with experience assisting startups with corporate, intellectual property and employment needs in Connect's internationally recognized Springboard mentoring program.

"Creating a partnership between Connect and USD Law School is a win-win for the whole community," said Kevin Cole, USD School of Law dean. "Our students will gain valuable experiences to assist them in transitioning to the practice of law, accelerate the success of our local technology startups, and provide extra bandwidth for our law firm partners."

Springboard, Connect's flagship program, is a business creation and development program. Innovators at all stages, from researchers working in the lab to major companies considering a spin-out of technology, receive hands-on mentoring by successful CEOs.

Industry clusters addressed by the program include pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics and wireless health, clean technology, software, action and sports products, and communications technology.

"At the very time technology startups need legal help the most, they have few resources to obtain help with corporate formation, bylaws, financing, due diligence, security interests, intellectual property and licensing and employment law and stock option agreements," said Connect CEO Duane Roth. "This innovative new program will dramatically change the prospects of success for some of our region's most promising technology start-ups."

A select group of students will be admitted to the new clinical program each semester. Actual legal services will be available in September, when the fall semester kicks off.

The course will begin with an intensive "boot camp" covering the core types of transactions encountered in technology startups. There are no scheduled classes during the semester. Instead, students will work with the companies and supervising lawyers each week. USD School of Law professor Ted Sichelman will be overseeing the Technology Entrepreneurship Clinic.

"This partnership is the first of its kind in San Diego and will give students an advantage in competing for positions in private industry and law firms," Sichelman said.

Carl Kukkonen, co-chair of Connect's Springboard executive committee and a partner at Mintz, Levin, Cohn Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, said, "The clinic will help participating law firms provide a greater level of support to Springboard companies. In addition, the clinic will give the next generation of lawyers a unique view into the skills required and business issues faced by an essential segment of our local community, namely technology-centric start-ups."

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