On 1 May 2019 Shainul Kassam of Fortune Law delivered the first law lecture to a group of MBA students at Imperial College London.
Two years ago, we as a firm having identified a real need from early stage founders seeking legal advice when things had gone wrong, launched a boot camp for start-ups Akbar Sher Khan who was an MBA student at Imperial saw our post on LinkedIn and got in touch because he thought this would be an excellent resource for his colleagues on the Imperial MBA programme. Together we held a focus group, designed a curriculum, secured approval from Imperial and finally last week Shainul Kassam delivered a 90-minute lecture titled “Law for entrepreneurs”. The engagement was high, the audience smart and all in all a great experience. Here is her report:
“In designing the appropriate curriculum, we took into account what fledgling businesses needed and also focused on the detail of setting up a legal structure and corresponding obligations such as directors’ duties. When you are a new business you want to focus your energy and resources on building something, on the product or the service deliverable. Law does not often rank highly in the order of resource allocation, both financial and time. However, when things go wrong, and they do, whether it’s a dispute with a supplier, a co-founder or a team member, the first question will always be “what does the contract say?” Most people either don’t have one or it’s off the shelf and not fit for purpose or they drafted it themselves. I wanted to make sure I did what I could to advise as early on as possible to help prevent these errors from engulfing a business, from costing money and time founders don’t have. I wanted their first experience of a commercial lawyer not to be a relationship built in a time of crisis but one that empowered them and supported them or even better, provoked them into making better decisions. Investing in law is an investment in your business which is an investment in yourself.
It was a pleasure to deliver this pilot lecture for Imperial and the feedback has been great. The group was engaged and asked quite a number of questions which is always a good sign. I encouraged questions throughout rather than have them wait until the end and as it was a nice small group, I was able to ask them all at the beginning who they were and their background (from aerospace to food and beverage) and what brought them to the course and that was very helpful. It gave me the context and allowed them to speak early on and added to the engagement factor.
I also asked who had incorporated a company historically and there were only one or two individuals who had done so and only one (who was a lawyer) had signed a shareholder’s agreement so that meant that there was a lot of value added. When I covered incorporation, there were questions on the different types of company one could use and also IR35 queries.
There were also questions on articles of association, term sheets shareholders agreements and investor due diligence and cap tables. IP was also an area of focus for the attendees.
One of the cohort said:
“As part of the cohort I want to take this opportunity to thank you once again for the great seminar: interesting topics chosen, well structured, excellently delivered. Thanks, Shainul! And keep in touch.”
If you are interested in attending one of our future seminars or want to book Shainul for a speaking engagement then please click and fill in the enquiry link below.