441.01 Start-Up Ventures Clinic

The Start-Up Ventures Clinic represents entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses and social ventures on a variety of matters related to the start-up process, including formation, founder equity and vesting, shareholder agreements, intellectual property protection and licensing agreements, commercialization strategies, and other issues that new enterprises face in their start-up phases.

The course incorporates client representation with a seminar and individualized supervision to provide students with a range of opportunities to put legal theory into practice and to develop core legal skills such as interviewing, client counseling, negotiation, and drafting. Students in this course will, among other things, have the chance to deepen their substantive legal knowledge in entrepreneurial law and business law more generally while at the same time developing critical professional skills through the direct representation of start-up businesses.

Law Tech Focus: Some enrolled students will have the option of spending a portion of their clinic time working on legal technology projects in association with the Duke Law Center on Law & Technology, including (1) working with the Duke Law Tech Lab, a pre-accelerator program for legal technologies and (2) building real legal tech tools to serve entrepreneurs.

For the spring semester of the 2020-2021 academic year, we expect that the seminar component of the Clinic will be taught in an online-only format. To the greatest extent possible, however, our work with clients and with each other, including supervision meetings, will be in person. For students who either elect not to return to Durham or who are not able to participate in the Clinic on an in-person basis, you will still be able to participate fully in the Clinic, just on a remote basis.


    • See Clinics Enrollment Policy
    • This course may not be dropped after the first class meeting.
    • Students MUST be able to attend the day-long clinic intensive training session to enroll in this course.
    • International LLM students who wish to enroll in a clinic must seek the permission of the instructor prior to the enrollment period. Permission is required to enroll but permission does not constitute entry into the clinic.
  • Business Associations and Advising the Entrepreneurial Client or Start-Up Law are recommended but not required.

Ethics Requirement

Students are required to have instruction in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct prior to, or during, enrollment in the Start-Up Ventures Clinic. The following ethics classes meet the requirement:  Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering (LAW 237), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering (LAW 238), Ethics and the Law of Lawyering in Civil Litigation (LAW 239),  Criminal Justice Ethics (LAW 317) and Ethics in Action (LAW 539).

Special Notes:


Enrollment Pre-/Co- Requisite Information

Any ethics course (Law 237, Law 238, Law 239, Law 317, or Law 539)

Spring 2021

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor
Course Credits
Group project(s)
Practical exercises
Live-client representation and case management
Class participation
Bryan McGann, Thomas Williams
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW.441.01.Sp21
Email list: LAW.441.01.Sp21@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - JD-LLM-LE
Course Requirements - Public Interest
Course Areas of Practice