Start Smart Series

learn from K&L Gates’ startup lawyers and gain valuable insight on how to legally start and run your startup.

Please register below.

Spring 2024

Starting any business presents many legal questions. Attend this series to learn about key legal issues facing startups -- from protecting intellectual property assets, forming your company and building your team to funding and preparing your company for an exit.  The series runs throughout the fall and spring. During each event, you will be able to learn from K&L Gates' startup lawyers and gain valuable insight on how to legally start/run your startup.

This series is held in partnership with K&L Gates, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and CMU's Project Olympus.

All Start Smart sessions will be held from 5:00 - 6:15 p.m. EST via Zoom. Dates, times, and presenters are subject to change.

 

 

Upcoming Sessions (Spring 2024)

 

Starting a Business with an F-1 Student Visa

January 23, 2024

5:00 - 6:15 p.m. EST, Zoom

Students with a Visa can legally start businesses as well as work on a startup team. Come learn the details of how to do this without violating your student status and immigration options after graduating.

 Presenters:

  • David Kalson, Dentons Cohen & Grigsby, Director of the Emerging Business Group
  • Larry Lebowitz, Dentons Cohen & Grigsby, Director of the Immigration Group
  • Linda Gentile, CMU, Director, Office of International Education 

Building Your Team

February 13, 2024

5:00 - 6:15 p.m. EST, Zoom

You’ve incorporated and just got into an accelerator. You are in discussions with a potential co-founder.  Now what? Learn the ins and outs of staffing your startup, including employment law issues involving: adding co-founders, working with advisors, interns v. volunteers, employees v. independent contractors, invention assignments, non-disclosure agreements, non-competes, and the use of equity to attract and retain key personnel.

 Presenters:

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates 
  • Dave Garraux, K&L Gates

How to Structure Your Capital Raise — Part 1 — The Fundamentals

March 21, 2024

5:00 - 6:15 p.m. EST, Zoom

Learn about the legal and economic/business issues associated with raising funds from:

  • Friends and Family
  • Seed Funding (including from University, government and Non-Profit Funding)
  • Incubators and Accelerators
  • Angel investors v. Venture Capitalists
  • Series A, B, etc.

 This session is a prerequisite to understanding and participating in Part 2 – Negotiating the Term Sheet.

 Presenters:

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates

How to Structure Your Capital Raise — Part 2 — 
Startups v. Investors: Negotiating the Term Sheet Workshop

March 26, 2024

5:00 - 6:15 p.m. EST, Zoom

Join us for a fun negotiation exercise in which you’ll play the role of startup or investor. We’ll begin the evening with a quick overview of the legal issues associated with investing in startups.  We’ll then divide into investor and startup groups, who will meet separately with lawyers to decide on the terms they want. We’ll end the evening with a negotiation led by these lawyers and workshop volunteers who will play the part of founders and investors. 

 Presenters:

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates
  • Oded Green, K&L Gates

Worst Mistakes Made by Startups

April 9, 2024

5:00 - 6:15 p.m. EST, Zoom

A panel of lawyers will share the ‘horror stories’ of mistakes that startups have made and the consequences.  Learn from the mistakes of others so you can avoid the pitfalls.

 Presenters:

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates — Moderator
  • Panelists TBA

 


Previous Sessions (Fall 2023)

 

How to Form Your Startup Company - Part 2: Legal Roadmap Workshop

November 2, 2023

5:00 - 6:15 p.m. EST, Zoom

In this Start Smart session, your team will be matched with one or more law students who will work with you to design a “legal roadmap” that will recommend the best entity option for your startup and the basics of a Founders Agreement.  The roadmap will also provide guidance on other legal issues on your ‘checklist’ - all under the supervision of experienced startup lawyers! 

 

Note: Participants in this workshop are not obligated to form a legal entity.  Rather, this workshop will help to prepare participants to form a legal entity if/when the timing is right for their startup. 

Presenters/Participants:

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates
  • Stephanie Dangel, University of Pittsburgh Law School
  • University of Pittsburgh Law School students

(Note: There is no video recording of this Start Smart. The supporting materials for this session are the same as Part 1 from the previous week.)

 

View Supporting Materials

 

How to Form Your Startup Company - Part 1: The Basics

October 26, 2023

5:00 - 6:15 p.m. EST, Zoom

Learn the basic legal issues involved with new company formation, including choice of entity (LLC, C-Corp, Benefit Corporation, Benefit Company, Non-profits, and B Corps certification, and other alternatives), basics of founders agreements, splitting equity and employee vesting.  We’ll start the evening by hearing from a startup lawyer and founder, who will share their experience forming a startup company.  This is a prerequisite for participating in How to Form Your Startup Company – Part 2

Presenters/Participants:

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates
  • Stephanie Dangel, University of Pittsburgh Law School
  • University of Pittsburgh Law School Students

 

View Session Recording

 

How to Handle Your (and Others') Intellectual Property

October 5, 2023

5:00 - 6:15 p.m. EST, Zoom

Intellectual Property is an asset to be protected.  This session will cover how to deal with IP issues, including:

  • Different ways to protect your company’s IP (trade secrets, patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.)
  • How to handle IP created by class projects when one or more of the student team members want to pursue commercialization.
  • Developing a patent strategy.
    • Do you really need a patent? 
    • Cost a patent: Legal fees and other filing expenses
    • Difference between a provisional patent and a formal patent filing.
    • Tips on searching the US Patent Office Database (for prior ‘art’ e.g existing patents)
    • What to expect after filing a patent (Time and expenses)

Presenters:

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates
  • George Dickos, K&L Gates
  • Lauren Murray, K&L Gates
  • Reed McManigle, CMU

 

View Session Recording

 

Introduction to Startup Law -

September 21, 2023

5:00 - 6:15 p.m. EST, Zoom

Using a checklist that will be distributed, we’ll introduce the key legal needs and issues for a startup: founders agreements, equity splits, company formation, handling IP, raising capital, building a team, etc. Then you’ll get to ask YOUR most pressing legal questions.  This session and checklist will be the basis of future Start Smarts, which will go into each of the issues in more depth.

Presenters: 

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates
  • Stephanie Dangel, University of Pittsburgh School of Law

View session recording

Start-up Legal Checklist