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By Eric Van Meter

Since 2006, the Eller College and UA’s James E. Rogers College of Law have partnered in student education through the Business/Law Exchange. This semester the program adds a new dimension to its work — one that extends beyond the classroom into the world of venture start-ups: the Innovation Law Lab.

Led by Larry Hecker and Gabriel Beckmann, the Innovation Law Lab provides critical legal strategy, leadership, and advice to innovation-based, scalable start-ups in the Tucson/Southern Arizona region.

innovationInitially, the Innovation Law Lab will focus on ventures incubated within the Arizona Center for Innovation and those associated with the University’s newly established Tech Launch Arizona, a center created to consolidate and synergize the work of moving knowledge and innovations to market.

Business/Law Exchange students within the College of Law will spend a full year working with start-ups through the Innovation Law Lab. As they help these ventures develop, they simultaneously develop their own knowledge and acumen, positioning them to serve in mock law firms that work with emergent ventures in the UA’s nationally-recognized McGuire Entrepreneurship Program.

These law firms have been at the heart of the Business/Law Exchange, with business-focused law students providing research, knowledge, and counsel to new venture teams under the supervision of members of the local bar as students on both sides navigate the complex intersections of business and law: issues around intellectual property, regulation, employment, and more.

Since its introduction in 2006, the Business/Law Exchange has been a focus of national attention in the innovation, law, and education communities for its model of developing talent and expertise — preparing students in both law and entrepreneurship to be leaders in today’s Ideas Economy.

Hecker and Beckmann are adjunct faculty at the UA Rogers College of Law. Hecker is a principal in the firm of Hecker & Muehlebach, PLLC. Beckmann retired from the law firm of Lewis and Roca LLP, as a senior partner in 2009.

Learn more about the dynamic programs of the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship.