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Law Students Take Part in University Project Slam


On a recent Saturday in April, four local companies brought together one start-up enterprise and students from six area universities to take part in what may be the area’s first “university project slam.”

What is a university project slam? It’s an opportunity for a local small business to get real world advice from future business, creative, and legal minds, working under the direction and guidance of area professionals. 

Teams of students, including UC Law’s Michelle James ’13 and Christian Dennery ’13, were selected to take part in this event.

“Though no legal advice was required, I wanted to revive and reinvigorate my business skills,” said law student Michelle James about why she took part in this venture. “I also have a soft spot for small businesses and it was great to know I was helping out a growing Cincinnati enterprise.”

The local start-up—handpicked by cohost companies: The Brandery Group, CincyTech, bioLOGIC Corp and Centrifuse—faced a critical business challenge.  They had created a phone application specifically geared toward music. Banking on the success of the launch, the start-up team was contemplating whether to remain in the industry or use the knowledge and skills to expand into other areas. If expansion was the solution, how should it be done?   

The teams, comprised of students from a combination of backgrounds, including MBA, computer information systems, marketing, graphic design, and entrepreneurship, then worked together to figure out the best solution and make recommendations for the company.

James’s team bet on expanding the operation. Dennery’s team recommended the company use the technology to provide exclusive content, building a “buzz” about the program.

About the experience James said, “I wanted to see what practical problems businesses are actually facing on a daily basis. It was a great opportunity to network with other students from other disciplines and schools as well.”

Dennery concurred, “It was a great opportunity to get out of the law school bubble and meet other professionals. And, it was a lot of fun.”

James, who graduates this year, would like to practice in the areas of commercial, corporate, mergers and acquisition, real estate or tax law.  Dennery, who also graduates this year, will focus on small practice bankruptcy and small business reorganization and restructuring. He plans to open his own practice.

Teams consisted of students from Miami University, Xavier University, the College of Mt. Saint Joseph, Cincinnati State, Northern Kentucky University, and UC—Law, DAAP, and Business programs.  Professor Lew Goldfarb, Director of UC Law’s Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, was on-hand as an advisor/mentor throughout the day, along with other “advisors/mentors” from various active investment groups, service providers, and local entrepreneurs.