Start Smart Law-Project Olympus - Carnegie Mellon University

Start Smart Law

START SMART is an initiative of Project Olympus at Carnegie Mellon University and the Innovation Practice Institute at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law to provide educational seminars and workshops to teach entrepreneurs and start-ups, and future lawyers in the Pittsburgh region the basics of entrepreneurial business law.

Spring 2015 Start Smarts TBA

Stay tuned for more...

Fall 2014 Start Smart Law Seminars

Start Smart: Building Your Professional Relationships (Law, Accounting, Insurance and Banking)

Date: Thursday, September 18
Time: 5:30 to 7:00 pm
Location: Newell Simon Hall 1507

In addition to great founders and team members, startups need a knowledgeable team of professionals from a variety of fields who are experienced working with startups. Learn from this panel of key professionals what each bring to make your startup successful.


  • Law: David Lehman, K&L Gates
  • Accounting: Bill Richardson, Sisterson, Inc
  • Insurance: Kevin Hughes, TJ&S
  • Banking: Joe King, Citizens Bank

Start Smart: How to Shop for a Lawyer

Date: Thursday, October 9
Time: 5:30 to 7:00 pm
Location: University of Pittsburgh

Finding the right lawyer is a key strategic business decision for a startup.  Your lawyer can be one of your best business advisers or a poor choice that costs you time and money.

Learn the right questions to ask, how to avoid common mistakes, and how to manage your relationship.

Start Smart: Raising Capital

Date: Thursday, October 16
Time: 5:30 to 7:00 pm
Location: Gates 4405

Learn about the legal issues associated with raising capital from friends and family, such as:

  • Structuring the investments to maximize growth
  • Opportunities available because of the new JOBS Act
  • Crowd sourcing and proposed SEC regulation
  • Funding from incubators/accelerators, government and foundations

Start Smart: Protecting Your Company's IP

Date: Thursday, October 30
Time: 5:30 to 7:00 pm
Location: University of Pittsburgh

Learn the answers to these issues:

  • How to protect your company's IP
  • How not to infringe on another's IP
  • How to handle IP created by your employees, including non-compete clauses
  • Which to use: copyright, patents, trademarks, trade secrets
  • First to file vs first to invent: changes in US patent law

Presented by Mike Lazzara,  K&L Gates

Start Smart: How to Conduct Patent Research Workshop

Tuesday, November 18
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Newell Simon Hall 3305

Do you have an invention or product that you think can be patented? Bring your laptop to this session to learn how to research whether there are other patents similar to your invention and get tips on how you can describe your invention to avoid infringing on other patents.

Presented by Mike Lazzara from K&L Gates.

For More Entrepreneurial Events Visit Our Events Page»


Kit Needham

kit needham
Entrepreneur in Residence Project Olympus

Stephanie Dangel

stephanie dangel
Executive Director Innovation Practice Institute (IPI) at Pitt Law