ABA-MIT Appathon: Incubating Innovation

Abstract:

In a changing legal economy, many traditional law firms are seeking opportunities to connect with innovators and develop mutually beneficial relationships. Our team will explore the ethical and practical concerns for lawyers interested in incubating and accelerating innovation within a traditional law firm setting.

Body:

In a changing legal economy, many traditional law firms are seeking opportunities to connect with innovators and develop mutually beneficial relationships. Our team will explore the ethical and practical concerns for lawyers interested in incubating and accelerating innovation within a traditional law firm setting.

We will address and explore a few major issues and recommend best practices

  • Co-advising startups in an incubator/accelerator setting
  • How to structure a conflict waiver to address current and future conflicts of interest.
  • How to ethically represent the incubator as an entity and the companies as individual clients.
  • How to effectively act as both a business advisor and attorney while respecting and maintaining necessary client confidentiality.
  • How to navigate conflict and litigation.
  • Structuring ethical equity financing arrangements
  • Model retainer agreements

Additionally, we will advocate for exceptions in the model ethics rules that reflect the cooperative nature of incubators. Changes and/or exceptions are needed in the conflicts and fee rules in order to allow attorneys effectively foster innovation in incubator and accelerator settings.

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