Entrepreneurial Law Clinic Discusses Company’s Early Years
AOL’s Mapquest announced recently that it had acquired former Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (ELC) client company Everlater.
“Seeing our clients go on to successful opportunities is great,” said Avi Loewenstein (’10), former student-attorney and associate at Brownstein Hyatt Farber & Schreck, LLP. “To work on a company that developed useful products is a great experience of being in transactional law.”
ELC professor Brad Bernthal said the idea for the company began after the two founders, Nate Abbott and Natty Zola, took a trip around the world.
“The two founders worked on Wall Street, but then decided to travel the world together,” Bernthal said. “They decided to start a social networking site to help other travelers share their adventures, pictures, and more.”
After the two learned how to code and immersed themselves in the Colorado Front Range startup scene, they began working with the ELC to form the company and handle early intellectual property needs.
“The ELC attorneys were able to come in and essentially give them legal structures they could build on going forward,” Bernthal said. “When they went to sell their business, their legal documentation was airtight. They had no problems.”
The Entrepreneurial Law Clinic is one of nine clinics offered at Colorado Law. Bernthal said the clinic helps early stage entrepreneurs, particularly high technology companies like Everlater and micro-entrepreneurs, which are often individual business owners with limited resources.
“We specialize in helping entrepreneurs who would be resorting to self-help or otherwise blissfully ignoring their legal needs,” Bernthal said. “Our clinic attorneys are able to step in at the earliest part of the company’s legal life cycle.”
Student-attorney Jenna Seigel (’10) said the ELC was the best experience for a future transactional lawyer.
“It’s the primary opportunity to see what it’s going to be like practicing that in your career,” said Seigel, who now works as a corporate and securities attorney for Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A., in Miami, Florida. “What we did in the clinic is what I’m doing now as an associate.”
Loewenstein said for students looking to practice transactional law, the ELC is the best opportunity to be the primary attorney.
“The opportunities to do real transactional work are few and far between in law school,” Loewenstein said, “but clinic is one of the rare opportunities to learn in a controlled environment with Brad and supervising attorneys.”
Last year, funding for the permanent ELC professorship, currently held by Bernthal, was secured through a fundraising campaign led by Jason Mendelson, co-founder and managing director of Foundry Group.
"I am truly amazed by the community's support of the entrepreneurial professorship," said Mendelson. "It proves that the work being done at Colorado Law is relevant to professors, students, and the entrepreneurial community because it raises the transactional intelligence and collaboration between them all."
Both students praised Bernthal’s contributions to the clinic and engaging the surrounding community.
“Brad Bernthal is wonderful,” Seigel said. “He puts his heart into that program so that it can be the best possible clinical experience.”
“Brad does a phenomenal job of integrating the clinic into the community of Boulder,” echoed Loewenstein. “The clinic is so plugged in to the community; it’s a tremendous value to the law school.”
Bernthal said what he hopes students gain from their experience in the clinic is not only to connect to the larger community and engage with practitioners at the leading edge of their craft, but also to learn how to help companies succeed.
“Everlater is a good example of the way clinic can reduce frictions for people who want to innovate,” Bernthal said. “It reduces barriers for companies to succeed.”