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Innovation & Startups

IPI connects law students and local entrepreneurs; Global Entrepreneurship Week events

Pitt Law Innovation Practice Institute's Justine Kasznica moved to Pittsburgh intrigued by what she heard from BeatBots founder Marek Michalowski, a friend she had met during her undergrad years.  Through her work with BeatBots, she quickly developed an appreciation of the region's strong ties to innovation and commitment to economic development.
"I kept hearing that Pittsburgh was such an authentic city," says Kasznica, a former Philadelphia attorney who arrived in 2008 to work as a clerk in the federal court and later companies emerging from CMU's Robotics Institute. Today she is the executive director of IPI, bringing fresh thinking about law and innovation to the job. 
Kasznica's sensitivity to the legal needs of the innovation community is motivating her goal of bringing law students, law firms and local entrepreneurs together through symposiums, programs and events that span many disciplines.
It's all about Pittsburgh's economic development, she says. "IPI wants to be the legal bridge to the innovation community. It's a beautiful marriage, helping business development on the law firm side while delving into the innovation space to learn the nuts and bolts of the innovation law practice."  
This week marks Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world's largest celebration of innovators and job creators, and Pittsburgh, as usual, is celebrating, bringing potential mentors, entrepreneurs and investors together through a series of events throughout the region. (Click here for more on events in Pittsburgh.)
IPI, in collaboration with CMU's Entertainment Technology Center, is hosting a free public event on Thursday evening with the internationally famous inventor of SillyBandz, “American Dreamers: An Evening with SillyBandz Inventor Robert Croak and Pitt Law Alumnus and Entrepreneur Rich Belsky.”
New opportunities will be offered through IPI throughout the year. Monthly Start Smart seminars, co-hosted with CMU's Project Olympus, is a program lead by experienced attorneys focusing on legal issues pertinent to entrepreneurs and early stage start-ups.  The series kicked off with a presentation by David Lehman of K&L Gates and will feature more legal professionals in the future.   
IPI's Investing in Innovation series will promote innovation and economic development through speakers and high-level networking sessions that focus on different industries. 
A lunchtime speakers series for students will be held, Innovators Esq., featuring JDs who have used their degrees to pursue successful career in non-legal, or non-traditional legal areas.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Justine Kasznica, Pitt Law IPI

Image courtesy of IPI
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