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College of Law offers new certificate for advising entrepreneurs

March 28, 2014

The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law will offer students a new Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship Certificate this fall to meet an increased demand in the job market for trained lawyers who advise entrepreneurs. Law students completing the certificate can also graduate equipped with the skills needed to become entrepreneurs themselves.

In order to earn the certificate, students must complete 15 hours of coursework, including five hours of business courses, five hours of courses that focus on technology and five hours of elective coursework. To receive the certificate, students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in the certificate courses and an overall 2.5 GPA or higher.

Within the required electives, students can choose courses from either of two pools, one consisting of classes teaching law students how to advise entrepreneur clients and the other consisting of courses assisting those law students who seek to use and understand technology in order to become entrepreneurs. Courses range from securities regulation, employment law and real estate transactions for the advising pool, while classes in the self-entrepreneurship pool include patent law, communication law and the Technology and Legal Innovation Clinic, which will play a major role in the new certificate.

Currently in its second year of operation, the Technology and Legal Innovation Clinic, which is part of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice, is led by College of Law assistant clinical professor Judson Mitchell, J.D., with assistance from local lawyer and Web developer Ben Veradi. Each fall, students represent clients in real cases and use those experiences as inspiration for tech-law projects to develop in the spring.

Last year, students in Mitchell’s clinic developed four legal apps and a search engine for Louisiana laws. Mitchell believes the current job climate that graduates are entering reinforces the need to offer more options to law students.

“The legal profession in America is going through a radical shift, the likes of which have never been seen before. It's traditionally a very conservative profession, but the old, established foundations of law practice—stable jobs with firms, billable hours and limited competition are falling down. If we are going to outfit young lawyers to survive in this environment, they must acquire the flexibility and skills that entrepreneurs take for granted,” Mitchell said.

Most coursework for the certificate is already part of Loyola’s College of Law curriculum, but one new course will debut next academic year. Law and Technology, which Mitchell will co-teach with Loyola Associate Professor of Law John Blevins, J.D., will provide students with an overview of relevant modern digital technologies and legal doctrines. Students will obtain an overview of both network technologies and software applications that utilize networks. The course will also cover the intersection of these technologies with relevant aspects of intellectual property law, privacy law, cyber law, business law and communications law.

In addition to the coursework and clinic, students working toward the certificate will have the opportunity to join the efforts of the recently re-chartered Entrepreneurial Business Law Society as well as the Intellectual Property Law Society. Along with these active organizations, the College of Law intends to complement the certificate program with a regular roster of speakers including entrepreneurs, 501(c)(3) organizations that focus on supporting entrepreneurial activity, governmental agencies and departments that focus on economic development, and members of the local technology community.

For more information, contact Mitchell at 504-861-5597 or Trey Drury at 504-861-5428.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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