Jan. 6, 2021

UCalgary pro-bono student law clinic and UCeed team up to support new ventures

Experiential learning provides Faculty of Law students with real-life legal practice
BLG Business Venture Clinic
Faculty of Law students and guests attend the grand opening of the BLG Business Venture Clinic. Peter Dawe

If you’re an entrepreneur starting your first venture, how do you prepare memos and generate drafts of necessary corporate/commercial agreements and licenses? How do you ensure you’ve completed your due diligence, and did you consider that you may need a patent?

Starting a new business venture is a daunting task, especially when navigating the complex legal world. What many entrepreneurs don’t realize is that they don’t have to face this challenge alone. UCalgary’s BLG Business Venture Clinic provides free legal information to Calgary entrepreneurs. 

  • Photo above: 2018 opening of the physical space for the BLG Business Venture Clinic, taken at the Faculty of Law. Faculty of Law photo

Created by Bryce Tingle, the Faculty of Law’s N. Murray Edwards Chair in Business Law, the BLG Business Venture Clinic is supported by Calgary’s Borden Ladner Gervais, LLP (BLG).Through the clinic, law students are paired with local entrepreneurs in need of legal assistance. Students collaborate with lawyers from BLG, and other corporate firms, who provide guidance and feedback to ensure the work is accurate and complete. 

“Through BLG Business Venture Clinic, we use experiential learning to provide new businesses, both at UCalgary and in our broader community, with legal information,” says Tingle. “We recognized that there is a gap in the provision of legal services for new ventures, and we want to fill it while simultaneously giving UCalgary law students hands-on experience.”  

BLG Business Venture Clinic teams up with UCeed 

Thanks to UCalgary law student Duncan Pardoe, BLG Business Venture Clinic has teamed up with UCeed, a unique pre-seed and seed investment program that includes Canada’s first dedicated Child Health and Wellness Fund. UCeed provides access to capital to advance technology and accelerate the growth of startup companies. Pardoe recognized that BLG Business Venture Clinic could support new ventures created through UCeed, and together, the two entities could promote UCalgary’s entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to experiential learning opportunities.

“When a startup pitches a business idea to UCeed for financing, and UCeed decides to invest, a few things need to happen,” says Pardoe. “First, there may be some documents that need to be drafted, then due diligence reviews of the companies must be performed. This due diligence process involves reviewing a company’s contracts, their articles of incorporation, board and shareholder minutes, to ensure there are no legal issues that could give rise to investment risk for UCeed. I saw this as an opportunity to create value for both BLG Business Venture Clinic and UCeed while also adding value to early-stage businesses.” 

Pardoe is an active participant in the BLG Business Venture Clinic and his involvement has provided him with an incredible learning experience.  

“No other law school course teaches you how to work on an investment,” says Pardoe. “We are making a meaningful difference to our entrepreneurial community by teaming up with UCeed to help new business owners get the capital they need to grow their businesses. It’s been a fascinating learning process, and the experiential learning with UCeed has undoubtedly improved my own legal understanding, allowing me to apply this knowledge academically and in practice.” 

Experiential learning is a priority of the student programs connected to UCeed, and together with the support of groups on campus such as BLG Business Venture Clinic, the initiative is providing an enriching, hands-on learning experience for students and faculty members across campus. 

“UCeed embraces experiential learning when it connects to student programs, and we fully support the amazing opportunities that develop when new business ventures and students come together to collaborate,” says Pete Santosham, director, seed funds. “We look forward to our ongoing collaboration with BLG Business Venture Clinic.”  

Interested in BLG Business Venture Clinic's legal services? Learn more

Bryce Tingle

Faculty of Law’s N. Murray Edwards Chair, Bryce Tingle QC created BLG Business Venture Clinic.

Bryce Tingle

Ducan Pardoe

UCalgary Faculty of Law student Ducan Pardoe created a partnership with UCeed.

Adrian Shellard