PUBLISHED:June 07, 2024

1L Summer Immersion trip to New York offers students startup law networking opportunities


Law & Entrepreneurship students gained first-hand insights from innovative Duke alumni

JD/LLMLE students smile for a photo

Last month, eight first-year students and one second-year student traveled to New York as part of the JD/LLM in Law & Entrepreneurship (JD/LLMLE) dual-degree program, which equips law students with the vital tools and techniques needed for effective collaboration with today’s entrepreneurial ventures. Students were able to learn from VCs, law firms with entrepreneurial practices, and Duke alumni serving as in-house counsel at startups and high-growth tech companies.

Each summer, 1L students in the JD/LLMLE program complete a rigorous academic course which delves into the legal, business, and regulatory aspects of early-stage company formation. To complement their coursework, they travel to a startup hub in the United States, like Silicon Valley or New York, for a week-long immersion experience.

JD/LLMLE students with Duke Alums at Latham and Watkins
JD/LLMLE students and faculty with Duke alums at Latham & Watkins
JD/LLMLE students outside Rockefeller Center
JD/LLMLE students outside of Rockefeller Center

Program Director Bryan McGann, a clinical professor of law and director of the Start-Up Ventures Clinic, says making his first trip with the students to New York and seeing how much it impacted their understanding of law and entrepreneurship was wonderful. “I enjoyed hearing the thoughtful and relevant questions the students asked of our hosts. I saw firsthand how the JD/LLMLE will prepare our graduates with the skill set so highly desired by law firms across several practice areas,” said McGann.

In New York, students had the opportunity to meet with alums who work in-house at companies such as Bitwise, Apple, and VRChat. They also learned about current trends in emerging companies and venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity areas of practice with attorneys at firms, including Latham & Watkins, Lowenstein Sandler, Cooley, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Wilson Sonsini. The students participated in panels, lunches, networking events, and receptions to provide them with a foundation on legal career paths at the intersection of law and entrepreneurship.

Half of the JD/LLMLE student group at Wilson Sonsini
Half of the JD/LLMLE student group at Wilson Sonsini

Jake McAuliffe JD/LLMLE ’26 spoke of the high value of this experience. “My favorite part was meeting with attorneys to get a glimpse into what careers in corporate law actually look like. For example, we met with the general counsels of big corporations (Apple) and smaller startups (VRChat) alike to get a sense of their daily work and unique challenges,” said McAuliffe.

Madeleine Sateri JD/LLMLE ’26 said, “One highlight was visiting Lowenstein Sandler, where we had a venture M&A class and stayed for the firm's monthly VentureCrush presentation to watch start-ups pitch to a group of VCs and Angel Investors. I also loved our visit to the Museum of Modern Art, where we toured exhibits about the intersection of art and innovation.”

Half of the JD/LLMLE students with 2 alums and Bryan McGann at dinner
Half of the JD/LLMLE students with two alums and Clinical Professor Bryan McGann at dinner
Half of the JD/LLMLE students with one alum at dinner
Half of the JD/LLMLE students with one alum at dinner