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Law Conference Connects Students, Entrepreneurs

Ninth annual Northwestern event focuses on legal issues entrepreneurs face

CHICAGO -- Northwestern University School of Law’s Annual Entrepreneurship Law Conference will feature leading Chicago entrepreneurs, financial investors, business leaders, and legal professionals in panels and discussions about the legal and business challenges entrepreneurs encounter as business owners and attorneys for enterprises.

The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 1 at the law school’s Chicago campus, 375 E. Chicago Avenue.

Panel discussions including “Financing the New Venture,” “Legal Tips for Starting a Business,” and “IP Issues and Brand Protection” will cover various stages of growing a business, the legal steps of getting started, attracting investors, understanding the investment terms and the best ways of protecting a brand. The conference is expected to draw more than 250 students, entrepreneurs and lawyers.

Featured panelists include executive-level speakers and founders from key Chicago area companies such as The Starter League, Social Crunch, Simple Relevance and Swipe Sense, as well as senior attorneys from top law firms.

Joe Dwyer will deliver the keynote speech. He will be joined by an impressive list of panelists, all of whom will participate in the discussion forum. He will also be presented with the 2014 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award.

Dwyer, a 2008 alumnus of Northwestern Law and the University’s Kellogg School of Management, is an investor, technologist and serial entrepreneur. He is a partner at Digital Intent, as well as a partner at Founder Equity Fund. He also teaches entrepreneurship courses at Kellogg.

Dwyer’s first company, launched in 1994, provided tech innovation and strategy to clients such as Bain and Albertson’s. Since then, he’s founded and led multiple companies, including The Virtual Market, one of the earliest dynamic e-commerce sites;, a top five online mortgage bank; TouchPoint, an enterprise SaaS serving the Fortune 500; and ArtistData, a social media platform sold to SonicBids. In 2008, he joined OCA Ventures, where he served as a venture partner until recently moving to an advisory role. Dwyer is also a mentor for Techstars, a Charter Member of TIE, and a mentor for Founder Institute.

“We are very excited by the caliber of our panelists this year and thrilled to have Joe with us to share his passion, creativity, experiences and perspective,” said Esther Barron, director of Northwestern’s Entrepreneurship Law Center (ELC). “Joe is my former entrepreneurship law student so getting to present him with the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award is particularly meaningful for me.”

Admission to the conference is $20 for those who register online before Feb. 21, 2014; $25 for those who register after Feb. 21; and $30 at the door. For more information about the event, contact Allie Hastings or Katherine Pine, ELC student board co-presidents.

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