Students in LLMLE classroom

Why Duke, Why Now

"My decision to attend Duke Law's LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship Program was, without question, the defining moment of my career. This is the most transformative program of its type and, in both substance and structure, fully engages attorneys in the entrepreneurial space. I highly recommend this program to any attorney who is interested in full and comprehensive immersion in the entrepreneurial space. Duke Law's LLM in Law and Entrepreneurship meets a rapidly growing need within the entrepreneurial world for professionals who can effectively counsel and lead innovative ventures."

– Vinny Asaro LLMLE '12Associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
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People used to say, "When General Motors sneezes the world catches cold." Major corporations, born from bursts of innovation during the Industrial Revolution and its aftermath, were the bedrock of our economy. But now, thanks to rapid technological change, the rise of new centers of economic power, increased global interdependency, and the travails ⎯ even collapse ⎯ of icons of modern industry, we increasingly look to entrepreneurship and innovation for answers to the social, economic, and political challenges of our times. The new model of success? Think Google or Teach for America.

Law has a major role to play in this complex world of new products, services, and ideas. Large, established businesses, including law firms themselves, must learn how to develop new lines amidst frameworks of intense regulation. Startup businesses and social innovators must address important legal and legally structured issues, such as those relating to funding, finance, intellectual property protection and licensing, regulatory constraints (and support), technology, deal-making, taxation, risk management, and so forth. The dynamics, risks, leadership, staffing, scaling, and strategic planning for startups (as well as green-shoot enterprises within other companies) are very different from the analogous concerns within large, established companies.

Lawyers often are among a startup's handful of founders or leadership teams. In this context, the relationship of the lawyer and the businessperson is so intertwined that a competent lawyer must understand business and a competent businessperson must understand the law. By focusing on this intersection, the Law and Entrepreneurship LLM Program at Duke provides a valuable foundation for lawyers who plan to be involved with innovative ventures, either as advisers, executives or CEOs.

Building on Duke Law's existing strengths in the fields of business law, intellectual property law, and innovation policy and strategic ties to entrepreneurial companies located in nearby Research Triangle Park, this program offers a distinctive and rigorous educational experience. It also meets a growing need within the legal and business communities for lawyers who can creatively counsel and lead the innovative ventures of today and tomorrow.

Entrepreneurship at Duke

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