Spring 2013 Startup Law Summit

March 16, 2013
9am - 2pm
  • IIT-Chicago Kent College of Law
  • 565 W. Adams St.
  • Chicago, IL 60610
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What keeps entrepreneurs up at night? Is it the daunting task of incorporation, drafting founder agreements, and/or intellectual property?

On March 16th, we’re bringing together Chicago’s top startup attorneys to give you candid, high quality advice on your toughest startup law issues. Following our usual intimate and informal “unpluggd” style, attendees will hear no BS legal advice on issues ranging from intellectual property to fundraising.

There will also be a legal clinic where entrepreneurs can ask their burning questions and get real answers from experienced attorneys in a small group.

Held at the IIT-Chicago Kent College of Law (565 W. Adams St., the Spring Startup Law Summit is the perfect way to get a headstart on educating yourself and getting access to top legal sources in Chicago.



9:00am Check In and Breakfast
9:30am Welcome and Agenda
9:45am Get the Right Entity
One of the first and most important choices a startup makes is picking the right corporate entity. Choices at this stage can cause considerable headaches when/if investors come along. Make sure to avoid the mistakes Esther will outline from her years of experience working with early stage startups.
Esther Barron
10:15am The Top 3 Essential Agreements for Startup Founders
Without one of these essential agreements, founders can fail to retain their ownership rights. Without another one, they can get into legal trouble with potential employees. The third one makes sure you get paid. Tricia covers the basics on founder agreements, independent contractor agreements, and revenue share contracts.
Tricia Meyer 
10:45am Break
11:00am Trademarks for Startups: Strategies for Success
What makes a brand strong and legally protectable? What steps can you take before launch to minimize risk and protect your brand against imitators? Once you’ve secured a domain name and a corporate name, is it really necessary to federally register your mark? Julie will discuss the practical steps you can (and should) take – from conception to public launch and beyond – to strengthen your brand and increase the value of your business.
Julie Matthews
11:30am Arrested Development: 5 Issues that May Stunt Your Company’s Growth Before it Begins
How do you prevent a developer going rogue? How can you make sure equity splits are fair and not contested later? Jude Sullivan shares five legal and business scenarios that could hinder a startup before it gets off the ground.
Jude Sullivan
12:00pm Legal Considerations for Companies Considering Angel/Venture Capital
What are the legal red flags that investors see when evaluating a startup? How do venture capitalists and angel investors differ in their analyses? Heather covers what investors see from a legal perspective as they decide whether to invest in a startup.
Heather Harper
12:30pm Lunch
1:00pm Legal Clinic
Entrepreneurs will break up into small groups to have an intimate and informal session with an attorney. Groups will be based on questions submitted at time of registration.
1:30pm Networking



Esther Barron

Esther Barron is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Entrepreneurship Law Center at Northwestern University School of Law. In addition to her clinical work, she teaches Entrepreneurship Law and Venture Capital. She also collaborates on the Law School’s Structuring Transactions program, which is a series of practical courses focused on specific areas of transactional law.

Tricia Meyer

Tricia is the Founder & Managing Attorney of Meyer Law, Ltd., a boutique technology law firm. She has extensive experience counseling startup, small and mid-sized businesses on various corporate, contract and employment-related matters. Tricia has a great deal of experience with technology-related transactions, including software licensing, SaaS, consulting services, cloud implementations, application development and outsourcing.

Julie Matthews

Julie is a partner with over fifteen years of experience in intellectual property law, with a focus on trademark, advertising and Internet law. Julie works with entrepreneurs, emerging media and technology companies and well-known brand owners on protecting and exploiting IP rights in a rapidly-changing, global marketplace.

Julie counsels clients on selecting strong brands, registering IP and policing rights effectively; structuring independent contractor and work made for hire arrangements; developing international franchise and licensing programs; drafting website Terms of Use and Privacy Policies. She helps clients navigate the complexities of global rights clearance, the use and misuse of trademarks and copyrightable material on the Internet, and issues arising from online data collection, mobile marketing and the use of social media.

Julie has litigated and successfully resolved trademark, copyright, counterfeiting and unfair competition disputes, domain name disputes and civil actions in federal courts. She handles trademark opposition and cancellation proceedings before the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and supervises global trademark enforcement and anti-counterfeiting programs.

Mark Ryerson

Prior to joining Howard & Howard, Mr. Ryerson was a corporate associate focusing on a wide range of business and corporate issues. He regularly counseled clients on matters relating to supply, distribution, sales, advertising, marketing, sponsorship, procurement, royalty, manufacturing, technology transfer, licensing, sublicensing, reseller licensing, OEM, research, development, confidentiality and logistics relationships in the multimedia, retail, biomedical, communications, food and beverage, software, energy, real estate, and transportation and service industries.

Mr. Ryerson has also represented international and national buying and selling entities in advanced stock purchases, asset acquisitions, mergers, spin-offs, joint ventures and developmental associations, and has formed hundreds of corporations, LLCs and partnerships. Mr. Ryerson was extensively involved in the preparation and completion of numerous private equity, debt, and convertible debt securities offerings on behalf of both issuing entities and institutional investors, including the composition and evaluation of PPMs, term sheets, LOIs, contribution agreements, security pledges and structured lines of credit. Additionally, he regularly participated in the negotiation and drafting of fixed- fee, hourly, salary and equity-based employment, independent contractor, subcontractor, outsourcing, management and consulting agreements, RFPs and compensation arrangements.

Jude Sullivan

Jude Sullivan concentrates his practice in corporate, mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital matters. He represents public and private companies in general corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions and securities matters. Mr. Sullivan also represents venture stage companies in negotiating and documenting financing arrangements and general corporate matters.

Throughout his career, Mr. Sullivan has served as: general counsel of a Chicago-based publicly traded software and service company; director of business development for a publicly traded technology holding company; buyer’s transaction team leader in connection with the $2.1 billion hostile acquisition of a publicly traded waste containment company; and seller’s transaction team leader in connection with a $3.6 billion sale of a publicly traded software company. He also has extensive experience working with technology companies, including responsibility for negotiating and documenting $350 million in venture capital investments in more than 35 portfolio companies as general counsel of divine, inc.

Heather Harper

Heather F. Harper is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and the supervising attorney for the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Heather teaches Entrepreneurship Law and serves as the legal adviser to the Interprofessional Projects Program (IPRO) at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).


There are several affordable parking options nearby thanks to our friends at SpotHero (including a $6 all day garage!). Click here to view the parking options.

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