Brooklyn has become a world magnet for new businesses. Today, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle alone (DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard) boasts more than 500 new businesses, nearly half of which expect to at least double in size in the next two years, says the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Coalition. Brooklyn Law School is intent on playing an integral role in ensuring the borough’s promise as the home for future innovators and entrepreneurs.
The Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE) – an extraordinary venture launching in November – will harness this energy. CUBE will be the hub for exploring legal issues surrounding entrepreneurship, and for providing effective legal representation and support for new commercial and not-for-profit businesses – while also training the next generation of business lawyers to advise and participate in these sectors. CUBE’s express purpose is to offer the legal tools to support and help build the start-up successes of tomorrow and beyond. The Center will reinforce and capitalize on Brooklyn’s role as a haven for business, media, energy, technology, creative arts, and social enterprise innovators.
In addition to its base at the Law School, CUBE will be headquartered at two locations: 55 Washington Street in the heart of DUMBO, and 15 MetroTech Center. Space has been generously provided by David and Jed Walentas, Principals of Two Trees Management Co., LLC., and Forest City Ratner Companies, respectively.
CUBE holds tremendous promise for the borough, Dean Nick Allard said in a New York Observer feature story. With three spaces in prime locations, Brooklyn Law School is surrounded by hundreds of emerging business and nonprofit ventures, “and all of them need legal services,” Dean Allard said. “One of the unmet needs and growth areas for new lawyers is serving as a lawyer for new businesses. And Brooklyn is the epicenter of new businesses in the city.”
Marking CUBE’s launch was the Entrepreneur Lawyers Showcase on Thursday, November 14. The event brought together BLS alumni and students who are exploring new ways to represent innovative entrepreneurs; trailblazing paths for the entrepreneurial lawyer and the legally-trained entrepreneur; and embarking on ventures of their own. (Watch the discussion.)
“Brooklyn has always been a place where great ideas are born and nurtured, from the start of the American Revolution up to today’s Digital Revolution,” said Dean Allard. “CUBE will be a home for the next generation of revolutionaries, pioneers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. It also reflects the very best of Brooklyn Law School. In the public sector, our pro bono, government, criminal and civil justice, and community work in the U.S. and abroad – such as through the Sparer Fellowship Program – is renowned. In the private sector, we lead in areas such as international business law, business regulation, bankruptcy, and compliance, among others. CUBE presents powerful new opportunities centered on the role of law for emerging commercial and not-for-profit businesses. It adds another component of our comprehensive curriculum for the 21st century.”
The curriculum will focus on advanced training in six specific areas: Real Estate Development; Technology; Creative Arts and Media; Community Deal-Making; Energy; and Social Enterprise. A three-pronged approach will define the experience:
foundational courses focused on entrepreneurship;
in-house clinics and other skills-focused courses (including the successful Business Boot Camp) that allow hands-on training with experienced attorneys; and,
industry-specific courses, workshops, pro bono opportunities, student organizations (Start-Up Club, Business Law Society, IP Law Society), panels, conferences, symposia, journals, and other activities for burgeoning entrepreneurial attorneys.
Students completing CUBE’s coursework in all three categories will have the opportunity to graduate with an Entrepreneurship Certificate at graduation.
CUBE will also promote entrepreneurial thinking through one-year fellowships, supporting third-year students’ projects designed to improve legal representation and support of start-up companies and growing enterprises. Adding to this unique approach will be a CUBE Legal Project Competition to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. Students will pitch their projects, with winners selected as Fellows by a panel of prominent judges, many of whom will be entrepreneurs themselves. Seed money will also be available to help jumpstart the winning proposals.
CUBE builds on a foundation of highly respected programs, such as the Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic (BLIP), founded by Professor Jonathan Askin; the Corporate and Real Estate Clinic, founded by Professor Debra Bechtel; and the Community Development Clinic founded by Professor David Reiss. Earlier this year, Askin was tapped by the European Commission to help guide implementation of similar clinics worldwide, part of a European Union-funded pilot program. CUBE will serve as the U.S. “landing strip” for a European consortium of 16 academic partners, which includes Queen Mary University of London Centre for Commercial Law Studies in England, the KU Leuven Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT in Belgium, and the University of Amsterdam, Institute for Information Law, in the Netherlands.
The launch of CUBE is made possible through the vision of BLS entrepreneurs: Evan B. Azriliant ’92, Partner, S & E Azriliant, P.C.; Robert B. Catell, Chairman, Advanced Energy Research & Technology Center, Stony Brook University and Former Chairman and CEO of KeySpan/National Grid; Lawrence I. Feldman ’74, Chief Executive Officer, Subway Development Corp., and Diane Feldman; Stanley M. Grossman ’67, Senior Counsel, Pomerantz Grossman Hufford Dahlstrom & Gross, and Nancy Grossman; Debra G. Humphreys ’84, Founder and Chair of Board of Trustees, Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, and David C. Humphreys, President and CEO, Tamko Building Products Inc.; and Gary M. Rosenberg ’74, Partner, Rosenberg & Estis P.C.