Matthew Pelkey, program director of the Entrepreneurship Law Center in the School of Law, works with many entrepreneurs looking to commercialize products in the medical field. “Sometimes, unless a student has been exposed to business or transactional work in some other context, they’re more inclined to self-select to other kinds of work. We wanted to engage the students as much as possible in a meaningful way.”

Summer always goes quickly — and for three UB School of Law students, their 1L summer sped by as they immersed themselves in the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship law.

The students worked with Matthew Pelkey ’10, who directs the Entrepreneurship Law Center and plays an active role in Western New York’s startup community. Advising clients under a practice order, they helped entrepreneurs — many looking to commercialize products they’ve developed in the medical field — to set up a viable business.

The students were part of a fellowship program — they were offered a stipend but no academic credit — that was funded through UB’s Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships and Empire State Development.

The goal of the fellowship program, Pelkey says, was to introduce students from underrepresented populations to what it’s like to do this kind of transactional legal work. “Sometimes,” he says, “unless a student has been exposed to business or transactional work in some other context, they’re more inclined to self-select to other kinds of work. We wanted to engage the students as much as possible in a meaningful way.”

Working from an office on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the students helped their clients form business plans and stock option plans, worked with them on compliance with privacy regulations and created basic legal guidebooks that will be made available to future entrepreneurs.

They also got a broad view of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including a daylong visit to the StartFast Venture Accelerator in Syracuse, which connects upstate New York entrepreneurs to venture capital investors. “It provided a lot of context to the issues they were working on,” Pelkey says. “It was really rewarding for me to see how positive an experience it was for the […]

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