This course will highlight the critical legal and business issues entrepreneurs face as they build and launch a new venture. We will explore real world scenarios, and address the legal and business issues that entrepreneurs face, from the moment they conceive of the "million dollar idea" to all of the important junctures along the path to success.
Are you a passionate entrepreneur with a new business idea, but feeling
intimidated by the law? Or perhaps you
are a lawyer or aspiring lawyer looking to break into the exciting world of
start-ups? This course addresses the
legal aspects of entrepreneurship, and is appropriate both for entrepreneurs and
lawyers who hope to represent entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs face many challenges
as they pursue a new business idea. With
the right legal tools, they can take steps that provide significant legal
protections and avoid future liability. Among
other subjects, the course will cover American law on choice of entity (corporation,
limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietorship), selection of a
company name and trademark, protecting intellectual property of the business
with patent, trade secret, trademark and copyright law, structuring agreements
among owners, venture capital and other equity and debt financing arrangements,
and the relationship between attorneys and entrepreneurs. In
addition to discussing applicable legal rules, the course will focus on
practical steps entrepreneurs and their lawyers can take to build and protect a
new venture. The goal of the course will
be for students to have a better understanding of practical ways they can
protect a new venture and spot potential issues from a business-legal perspective.
The course is designed for students interested in learning about the business-legal
aspects of entrepreneurship regardless of educational background.
The course subjects are presented in the same
order a typical entrepreneur would encounter them when starting a new
business. There are four or five short
video lectures each week, along with reading assignments and a quiz. In addition, there is a case study flowing
through the entire course, which illustrates each week’s legal principles in a
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.
Professors Barron and Reed teach at Northwestern Law School, which has a national reputation for innovation in legal education. Barron is the director of the Entrepreneurship Law Center, and Reed is assistant director of the ELC and co-director of the largest and most successful JD/MBA program in the country. In 2014, the Law School will launch the Master of Science in Law program, a one-year degree program designed to allow engineering, science, and medical professionals the opportunity to study entrepreneurship from a business-legal perspective. The MSL program enables STEM-trained entrepreneurs to develop and protect their intellectual property and navigate the regulatory environment, so that they might bring their ideas to market.