From launch to exit, lawyers are ever-present at every stage of the entrepreneurial journey — from founding a business to hiring employees, signing contracts, raising funding, protecting ideas, masterminding mergers, acquisitions and public listings.
The law can be an afterthought for startups that will want to move as quickly as possible, but it’s a competitive advantage to tap into expertise in navigating legal issues. That’s where LL.M. students come in. Working in the field of entrepreneurship, or embarking a business venture themselves, lawyers from these flagship legal masters degrees can add great value to early-stage companies.
Many of the world’s leading law schools now offer programming in entrepreneurship, whether full LL.M. degrees or shorter certificate programs for those who already have a legal masters degree. Other institutions run courses in related fields, such as commercial law or intellectual property. And some law schools run start-up incubators, a good place to launch a fledgling company.
Duke Law in North Carolina puts on the LL.M. in Law and Entrepreneurship program, which runs for two semesters and is for applicants who hold a J.D or LL.M. degree from any accredited law school. It provides students with the historical and current perspectives on entrepreneurship and the law. They also gain an understanding of public policy and legal frameworks that foster innovation and the business and strategic considerations of entrepreneurs. Also, students can explore their own entrepreneurial venture on the course.View School Profile
Cornell Tech in the Big Apple runs the LL.M. in Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship course, which equips students with the skills they need to support and lead technology companies in the digital economy. It’s a year-long immersion in innovation and new business development, with law students studying cheek by jowl with business students and designers. Working together, they create new products and businesses with support from Cornell Tech faculty.View School Profile
Seattle University School of Law hosts the LL.M. in Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program from Seattle, a leading global hub for the technology industry that is home to Amazon’s headquarters. The program seeks to produce a new breed of lawyers who understand regulatory schemes as well as the technological and strategic features that define the newest business models. Students can take the course full-time over a year, or part-time over two years.View School Profile
Graduates with an LL.M. degree can take their knowledge a step further with the Entrepreneurship Law and Strategy program at Arizona’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. It’s a “blended” program, taught both online and in-person on Arizona State University’s downtown Phoenix campus. Students can choose to study full-time or part-time alongside their job. The program takes a multi-disciplinary approach and is taught by law school faculty but also practicing attorneys and serial entrepreneurs.View School Profile
Students on the LL.M. degree at Colorado Law in the western US state benefit from the law school’s focus on entrepreneurship: it employs faculty with expertise in corporations, securities, taxation, mergers and acquisitions. The school is based in Boulder, one of America’s most dynamic tech start-up hubs. The institution connects students with a network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and start-up lawyers who teach on the program.View School Profile
Students on the LL.M. program at USC Gould can earn a certificate in Technology and Entrepreneurship Law, which focuses on the intersection of intellectual property and business law. The credential demonstrates specialized training in this dynamic field. To earn it, students have to take 12 units of mandatory and elective courses covering antitrust law, corporate finance, cybercrime and more.View School Profile
The University of Reading School of Law puts on the LL.M. in International Commercial Law with Intellectual Property Law and Management. Intellectual property plays a central role in entrepreneurship and business growth in the digital economy. The UK based law school runs the program jointly with Henley Business School, while students on the LL.M. can also take modules offered by the Schools of Arts and Communication Design at the University of Reading. The program develops students’ practical skills.View School Profile
Entrepreneurial LL.M. students at the University of Sunderland have access to free office space, IT facilities, business mentors and networking opportunities at The Enterprise Place, a business incubator on campus in the UK. It’s a place for lawyers with a good idea for a new business to turn it into a reality. The school also runs an LL.M. program in Commercial Law and International Trade, both important fields for companies with global ambitions. Moreover, LL.M. students at Sunderland get hands-on experience representing entrepreneurs in the school’s legal clinic, which provides free legal advice to small businesses.View School Profile
The Business Law LL.M. Certificate Program at Berkeley Law in California prepares LL.M. students to become trusted legal advisors to businesses large and small. The certificate is recognition for successful completion of a rigorous course of study covering such subjects as contracts, income tax, securities regulation and M&A. Berkeley Law is close to Silicon Valley, the world’s pre-eminent technology start-up ecosystem.View School Profile
The Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law at Swansea University in Wales runs the LL.M. program in legalTech. In addition to covering how innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain impact legal services, the program explores how tech can be applied to entrepreneurship. Students take classes at the school’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Law (CIEL), and explores how technology can improve access to justice and make the law more accessible for all.View School Profile