Sept. 18, 2014

Law students and entrepreneurs benefit from new partnership

Faculty of Law launches Borden Ladner Gervais LLP Business Venture Clinic with Innovate Calgary
From left: Ian Holloway, dean of law school; David Whelan, managing partner of BLG's Calgary office; Matt Bell, third-year law student; Ken Porter, vice-president intellectual property management at Innovate Calgary.

From left: Ian Holloway, David Whelan, Matt Bell, and Ken Porter.

The Faculty of Law unveiled the new Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) Business Venture Clinic on Wednesday in partnership with Innovate Calgary. The clinic is designed to offer startup businesses in Calgary access to pro bono legal assistance while also giving University of Calgary law students the chance to put their education into practice within Calgary's business community.

"We are very grateful for the tremendous support we have received from BLG to enhance student learning opportunities at the law school," said Ian Holloway, dean of the Faculty of Law. "The clinic allows us to give back to the community in a unique way, while offering our students valuable legal experience and giving new businesses the support they need to get their business up and running."

The clinic will give third-year law students the opportunity to put their classroom experience into practice by working with entrepreneurs and startup business owners in Calgary. A gift of $500,000 from BLG has allowed the law school to enter into this unique partnership. The gift also supports the BLG-Student Legal Assistance Trial Competition, the BLG Trial Advocacy Award and the BLG Howard Memorial Lecture. 

"We are proud to partner with the Faculty of Law and to be able to prepare students for success in a future career in business law," said David Whelan, managing partner of BLG's Calgary office. "Our gift and the programs it supports provide students with the opportunity to develop advisory skills which will give them a competitive advantage in the job market. This will create positive outcomes for the future graduates, the firms who hire them and the legal profession as a whole."

Students working in the clinic will be assigned a practicing corporate-commercial lawyer as a mentor, and students will draft a variety of legal documents including articles of incorporation, employment agreements and shareholder agreements, and will also provide information on various legal questions that typically arise in entrepreneurial companies, such as corporate governance considerations, business structures, and intellectual property issues. The clinic will allow the Faculty of Law to further grow its Excellence in Lawyering program, which ensures graduates are equipped with all of the necessary competencies to succeed in their careers.

"Partnering with the Faculty of Law is a win-win for both the students and our clients," said Ken Porter,  vice-president intellectual property management at Innovate Calgary. "Students are able to experience real-life situations faced by startup companies, and the business owners get an understanding of, and assistance with, the various legal issues they face."