Entrepreneurship is inherently interdisciplinary. Innovators designing, planning, implementing and growing entrepreneurial endeavors can come from virtually any academic or industry background. While their creative pursuits may often bring into play multiple disciplines, their entrepreneurial ventures always intersect with laws. As is widely observed, entrepreneurial thinking and practice are critical to innovation, job creation, healthy, sustainable economic growth, and the effective solutions to societal problems sought by social entrepreneurs.
Given the pervasive relationships between law and entrepreneurship, law schools are well-positioned to be important facilitators and practitioners of successful entrepreneurship in multiple ways, including: training students who will become effective value-adding counselors to entrepreneurs; preparing students to bring an entrepreneurial mindset to their careers in the law and to the business aspects of the legal profession; actively participating in cross-campus entrepreneurship programs; operating clinics that provide education on legal issues and pro bono legal services to community entrepreneurs, including student entrepreneurs; engaging in policy-oriented research and scholarship designed to foster regulatory environments that, with appropriate safeguards, encourage entrepreneurial creativity and innovation; and actively participating in and organizing and conducting conferences and symposia at intersections of law and entrepreneurship.
The UMKC School of Law become a national leader in law and entrepreneurship by embracing all of those challenges and opportunities. After opening an Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic in 2002, the Law School, in 2003, formally launched a two-pronged “Entrepreneurial Lawyering” program designed to provide excellent preparation for our students to become (1) effective counselors to entrepreneurs, and (2) successful entrepreneurs in their own right as they conduct careers in the law. Over the last approximately twelve years the Law School’s entrepreneurship initiatives have constantly expanded and, as reflected in the various subsections accessible through the drop-down menu to the right, currently include Law School course offerings, clinics, internships, interdisciplinary courses and programs in entrepreneurship, including social entrepreneurship, incubator arrangements, national and regional conferences/symposia, community engagement and service, and a significant body of research and publications on law and entrepreneurship teaching and regulatory policy.
As is evident in the details described in the subsections to the right, the Law School’s multi-faceted law and entrepreneurship activities involve key collaborations with other UMKC academic units and programs, with other universities, and with national organizations dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education. At UMKC these collaborators include, among others, faculty, students and programs at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management and the School of Computing and Engineering. Other educational institutions we work with on entrepreneurship matters include the University of Kansas, the Brooklyn Law School, and the MIT Media Lab. Leading nonprofit organizations with entrepreneurship focus with which we have been involved and continue to be involved in many projects include the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the United States association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE).