SDSU and USD Form Unique Partnership with
Duane Morris Law Firm to Offer Assistance
to Student Entrepreneurs

SDSU/USD/Duane Morris collaboration only business school/law school/legal firm partnership in the region designed to oversee and prepare students for successful start-ups

San Diego State University (SDSU), University of San Diego (USD) School of Law, and international law firm Duane Morris announced today the launch of a joint program that pairs SDSU student entrepreneurs with USD law students and Duane Morris attorneys to offer legal assistance for start-up businesses. It is the first business school/law school/legal firm partnership of its type in the region to combine student learning experiences with those of practicing attorneys.

Students from SDSU’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at the Fowler College of Business will work with law students from the Entrepreneurship Clinic at USD School of Law to obtain legal counsel as they establish start-up businesses. Licensed attorneys from Duane Morris will oversee each transaction and provide transactional support for each start-up endeavor.

The program will commence today, Friday, November 3, 2017.

“With the strength of the entrepreneurship community in San Diego, it just made sense for us to combine the assets of our three respective organizations to offer students the most well-rounded entrepreneurial education available to jumpstart their businesses,” said Lance Nail, dean of the Fowler College of Business. “The support and participation of Duane Morris is a critical element in making this program a success. Collaboration between the academic and business communities fosters a productive environment where startups can thrive.”

The program will feature an annual Duane Morris seminar to teach students in the Lavin Entrepreneurship Program about the common legal pitfalls of startups. Additionally, Duane Morris will host legal clinics in its San Diego office several times a year to help students handle any legal issues that may arise, as well as offering general legal advice on their business matters. 

“As a longtime board member of the Lavin Center, I felt this was a tremendous opportunity for us to support start-ups as a firm and individually,” said Duane Morris partner Michelle Hon Donovan. “Not only is it a win for the students involved, but it allows our attorneys the chance to assist these emerging ventures, which will have an incredibly positive impact on the San Diego community.”

Each SDSU student entrepreneur will be paired up with a USD law student at the USD School of Law Entrepreneurship Clinic who will provide legal services under the supervision on an experienced attorney.  Duane Morris will also take on certain cases on a pro bono basis.

"This is an exciting partnership to foster entrepreneurship in San Diego," said Stephen Ferruolo, dean of USD School of Law. "It demonstrates the types of collaborations that have made San Diego so vibrant a center of innovation. As a former start-up attorney, I know the value of pairing lawyers with entrepreneurs. As dean, I am pleased to be able to work closely with my colleagues at SDSU's Lavin Entrepreneurship Center."