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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Geoffrey H. Palmer Startup Law Clinic

Notice to prospective clients: The Startup Law Clinic is currently recruiting and vetting clients for our 2021-2022 academic year. If you are interested in becoming a client of the Clinic, please fill out our client intake form.

The Startup Law Clinic is an initiative designed to train law students to serve entrepreneurs of startups (primarily in the technology sector) with formation, capitalization, corporate governance, user agreements, angel investor financings and venture capital transactions. Led by experienced startup attorney, Sam Wu, with strategy and business development by Alyssa DiZoglio, the Clinic provides free guidance and expertise to entrepreneurs preparing for a startup's formation and initial capital investment as well as in negotiating the legal and business terms of the investment. Professor Wu started his practice in the Corporate and Securities Law Group of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati in Palo Alto. In 2010, Professor Wu co-founded Innovation Capital Law Group as the lead partner of the Corporate and Securities Practice Group with offices in Irvine and Palo Alto and is also the author of TechStartupLawyer.com.

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About the Clinic

The Clinic fills a need in the startup ecosystem for companies navigating the space between formation, user acquisition, seed and angel investor financing, and the first round of venture capital financing. In such cases, cash for legal services is scarce, yet some of the most important decisions and biggest mistakes are made in these early stages. The Clinic focuses on helping founders avoid common mistakes in formation and early stage financings. Many of these mistakes become extremely costly as the startup grows making subsequent financings more difficult and expensive. In the early stages of a startup, the Clinic specializes in representing the startups with:

  • formation
  • capitalization
  • user agreements
  • corporate governance
  • angel investor financings

As the startup matures, the Clinic can advise founders in venture capital transactions.

Clinic clients have access to the Clinic's referral network of experienced local practitioners of specialized matters such as patent prosecution, tax and regulatory practice. Once the legal needs of the client expand beyond the Clinic's capacity, the Clinic can introduce the client to law firms that have established a trusted relationship with the Clinic. The vision for the Clinic is to become a community of emerging growth startups, law students, sources of capital and legal and business advisors.

Prospective clients will be vetted by Clinic staff and advisors to ensure that the startup will be a good fit for the Clinic. Once in the Clinic, a startup will be advised by trained and qualified law students, under the supervision of Professor Sam Wu, to structure the company in preparation for growth and capital infusion.

As the Clinic grows, it will be a hub for sources of capital to consider new investment opportunities and also to connect our clients with experienced legal and business advisors.

  Prospective Clients

Startup or early-stage businesses that have not yet reached a significant financing round may be eligible for free legal assistance through the Clinic. The Clinic primarily services startups in the technology sector, but is open to companies across varying sectors if determined to be a good fit for the Clinic's services.

  Students

The Startup Law Clinic provides Pepperdine Law students with valuable and practical experience in the entrepreneurial and startup sector. The Clinic provides early-stage transactional legal advice to entrepreneurs and startups, primarily in the technology sector. Students are expected to conduct themselves as attorneys, with the primary responsibility to handle all assigned client matters.

  Prospective Students

The Startup Law Clinic is offered as a semester-long course during the fall and spring semesters. Students receive 3 credits for the semester. Students are strongly encouraged to take Corporations prior to or contemporaneously with the Clinic. The Clinic is open to 2Ls and 3Ls, however, acceptance is competitive and priority is given to 3Ls.