SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 08, 2023–These days more than ever, when a business owner needs advice, the optimal team to provide it includes both legal and business professionals.
For example, business questions related to selecting the right people for a startup’s board of directors might lead to legal advice about establishing proper board-governance rules. Or a legal request for a customer contract might spur advice on optimizing revenue recognition.
At Santa Clara University, law and business students have a rare opportunity to collaborate on such power-advisory teams early in their academic careers.
Ciocca Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has established a unique and innovative cross-disciplinary program called BEACH—for Bronco Entrepreneurs Advisory Clinic Hours.
Together with help from a group of mentors, teams of students in BEACH work to give free advice to up to 80 clients a year. The clients are recruited from the nearby Silicon Valley startup community and can be at any stage of development. Many clients come from other SCU programs such as the Bronco Ventures Accelerator or My Own Business Institute, or from the national retired-executive advisory service SCORE or the Small Business Association.
A Rare Interdisciplinary Approach
Now in its fourth year, the growing, interdisciplinary BEACH program includes 10 groups each session, each with two law and two business students, supported by experienced law and business mentors. Every team takes on four clients per session, conducting intake and providing research and recommendations with additional resources to the client.
“This is what it’s like in the real world—legal and business advisors working hand in hand,” says Linsey Krolik, a Santa Clara University School of Law senior clinical fellow who teaches courses in law for startups and co-directs the program along with peers from the Ciocca Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Leavey School of Business. “Students are getting invaluable exposure, including first-year law students and undergraduates in business. This gives them a tremendous advantage when they go to begin their career journey.”
Kumar Sarangee, professor of marketing at Santa Clara and a BEACH co-director, says what makes BEACH different from many other university clinical programs is its cross-disciplinary nature that involves students early in their academic careers.
“Our students are learning hands-on problem solving for a broad range of startups,” says Sarangee. “They learn from their mentors, from the business owners, and from each other. And the startups get free legal and strategic advice at crucial stages of their growth.”
Gilbert Fletcher MBA ’16, co-founder of a women’s personal training app called Trainerz Fitness, says he approached BEACH for legal advice, “but really came away with so much more.”
The students and mentors “helped me to identify practical, cost-effective next steps for the legal questions I had, and helped me with business strategy I hadn’t initially considered,” said Fletcher. If not for BEACH, he adds, “Trainerz Fitness would not be where it is today.”
For more information about BEACH, see the BEACH website.
About Ciocca Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Santa Clara University’s Ciocca Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is an on-campus resource that introduces and encourages the Entrepreneurial Mindset. With experiential programs accessible to all students, across disciplines – and faculty, staff, and alumni – Ciocca Center prepares future innovators and leaders with full access to possibilities and opportunities that inspire and empower.
For more information see www.scu.edu/cioccacenter/
About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked among the top 15 percent of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see www.scu.edu.
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Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | firstname.lastname@example.org | 408-554-5121