The seminar is primarily for law students who may practice in small to medium size law firms which generally service small and entrepreneurial businesses. The central premise of the seminar is that lawyers must not only master the legal analysis and methodology necessary for competent counseling of small and entrepreneurial businesses, but they also must understand entrepreneurship and the personal characteristics of the entrepreneur. Therefore, the seminar endeavors to instruct law students that, in rendering competent legal advice, lawyers must understand the content and contour of strategic management and planning concepts necessary for the successful start-up and early growth stages of an entrepreneurial firm. The seminar also considers family businesses and succession concerns.
The seminar trains the students to “re-see” the legal issues from the vantage point of the entrepreneur’s hopes and aspirations. One authority refers to this as a “client-centered approach.” Through reading materials, class discussions, counseling simulations, research, and actual interaction with entrepreneurs, law students begin to comprehend the special needs of entrepreneurs. They also develop a better understanding of the social, political and economic significance of small businesses to the vitality of local communities and to the general welfare of America.
One goal of the seminar is to help students understand that the heart of entrepreneurship is innovation and creativity. Creative thinking allows one to see new worlds of opportunities and to explore innovative usages of cutting-edge legal and business methodologies. Storytelling is one method by which we can access our imaginations and envision worlds that do not yet exist. Further, lawyers and consultants to entrepreneurs must utilize excellent oral communication skills. By tapping into the creative energy of storytelling, one can become more vital in one’s ability to communicate, resolve conflicts, solve problems, and articulate entrepreneurial visions. Moreover, in order to tell your client’s story of creativity and innovation, one must first listen carefully to that story. Hence, storytelling and listening are necessary skills for advising entrepreneurs.