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 2023

 

The Start Smart Legal Series hosts various seminars and workshops throughout the semester that cover a wide range of legal topics for startup businesses. 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.

All Start Smart sessions will be held from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. EST via Zoom. Dates, times, and presenters are subject to change.

 

Hiring & Firing

February 28, 2023

5:00 - 6:30 p.m. EST, Zoom

You have a cofounder.  Now what? Learn the ins and outs of staffing a company, including hiring employees and/or retaining independent contractors, interns and volunteers, important terms of employment or retention, restrictive covenants, and the use of employee equity to attract and retain personnel.

Presenters:

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates
  • Mike Pavlick, K&L Gates

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

March 14, 2023

5:00 - 6:30 p.m. EST, Zoom

Learn about the legal and economic/business issues associated with raising capital through Friends and Family, Seed Funding and Series A rounds. This session is a prerequisite to understanding and participating in Part 2 – Negotiating the Term Sheet.

Topics to be Covered:

- Structuring investments to maximize growth

- Funding from incubators/accelerators, angels, VCs, government, and foundations

Presenters:

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates

How to Structure Your Capital Raise -- Part 2 -- Negotiating the Term Sheet Workshop

March 28, 2023

5:00 - 6:30 p.m. EST, Zoom

Join us for a fun negotiation exercise in which you’ll play the role of either 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 that they want. We’ll end the evening with a negotiation led by workshop volunteers playing the part of founders and investors and two of Pittsburgh’s top startup lawyers.

Presenters:

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates
  • Adam Kelson, K&L Gates

Worst Mistakes Made by Startups

April 11, 2023

5:00 - 6:30 p.m. EST, Zoom

A panel of lawyers will share the ‘horror stories’ of mistakes that they have seen startups make and the consequences of their decisions. Learn from the mistakes of others so you can avoid the same pitfalls!

Panelists: 

  • TBA

Moderator: David Lehman, K&L Gates


Previous Sessions 

 

Introduction to Startup Law

September 22, 2022

5:00 - 6:30 p.m. EST, Zoom

Join us for a lightning round of Q&A with top startup and intellectual property lawyers. We will kick off the evening with a quick overview of the most common startup legal issues: contract law, IP protection, raising capital, entity formation and employment law and exit planning. Then you’ll get to ask YOUR most pressing legal questions.

Presenters: 

  • David Lehman, K&L Gates
  • Chip Dougherty, CMU

Watch recording


How to Handle Your (and Others') Intellectual Property

October 6, 2022

5:00 - 6:30 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 (copyrights, trade secrets, patents, trademarks, etc)
  • Do you really need a patent?
  • Difference between a provisional patent and a formal patent filing
  • Developing a patent strategy
  • How to handle IP created by class projects when one or more of the student team members want to pursue commercialization
  • 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
  • Lauren Murray, K&L Gates
  • Reed McManigle, CMU

Watch recording


How to Form Your Startup Part 1: The Basics

October 27, 2022

5:00 - 6:30 p.m. EST, Zoom

Learn the basic legal issues involved with new company formation, including choice of entity (LLC, C-Corp, social enterprise options such as non-profit (501c), Benefit Corporation, and B Corps certification, and other company structure alternatives, basics of founders agreements, splitting equity and employee vesting.  We’ll start the evening by hearing from lawyers and a startup who will share their experiences forming startup companies. 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

Watch recording

Download slideshow


 How to Form Your Startup, Part 2: Legal Roadmap

November 10, 2022

5:00 - 6:30 p.m. EST, Zoom

Your team will be matched with one or more law students to design a “legal roadmap” that will recommend the best entity option for your startup and the basics of a founders agreement – all under the supervision of experienced startup lawyers! **This workshop fills up quickly, so if you want to work with a law student, please send a description to sad111@pitt.edu by Friday, October 21.**

Presenters/Participants:

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

Watch recording

Download Legal Roadmap Workshop Resources


Building and Leveraging Your Professional Team

November 15, 2022

5:00 - 6:30 p.m. EST, Zoom

In addition to your cofounders and team members, startups need a knowledgeable team of professionals from a variety of fields who are experienced working with startups. This includes your lawyer, accountant, insurer, and banker as well as advisors. This session will start with how to find the lawyer that is the best fit for your startup and then give some advice on rounding out your professional team, recruiting advisors and maximizing the value of the relationship.

Presenters:

  • Kit Needham, CMU
  • Stephanie Dangel, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • Rhonda Schuldt, University of Pittsburgh's Big Idea Center
  • David Lehman, K&L Gates

Download slideshow

Watch Recording


 How to Start a Business on an F-1 Student Visa

January 31, 2023

5:00 – 6:30 p.m. EST, Zoom

Students with an F-1 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.

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

Download Slideshow