Entrepreneurship Law Center Launches New Massive Online Course

September 18, 2013

The Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Entrepreneurship Law Center has launched a new massive open online course as part of a university-wide initiative to provide selected Northwestern courses globally through a large-scale digital platform. The new course, Law and the Entrepreneur, is scheduled to start October 23.

Northwestern MOOCs are a product of a partnership with Coursera, an education company that partners with top universities and organizations throughout the world to make online courses available to anyone for free. The company has a platform that combines mastery-based learning principles with video lectures and interactive content.

The massive online format of the class allows for geographically diverse students to access Chicago-based entrepreneurs and attorneys who work in Chicago’s entrepreneurship community. To date more than 16,000 students have registered for the course.

Clinical professors Esther Barron (JD ’95) and Steve Reed will teach the course. Designed for both entrepreneurs and lawyers who hope to represent them, the course will address the legal and business issues that entrepreneurs face as they build and launch a new venture, including US law on choice of entity; selection of a company name and trademark; protecting intellectual property of the business with patent, trade secret, trademark, and copyright law; structuring agreements among owners; financing a new venture; risk management; and the relationship between attorneys and entrepreneurs.

“Through MOOCs we will increase educational reach and access to information to so many people around the world,” said Barron. “It is a great opportunity to showcase the programs, professors, and the academic range of the university as a whole.”

Barron and Reed have outlined the course based on legal doctrine as it applies to a case study of two entrepreneurs who are starting a business. Their recorded lectures will engage students through interactive exercises, online conversations, quizzes, and a case study showing how legal issues apply to entrepreneurship. By the end of the course, students will have a better understanding of practical ways to protect a new venture and spot potential issues from a business-legal perspective.

“As we learn more about online learning, I think that this program is one that will put Northwestern ahead of the curve,” said Reed. “With the direction that online education is taking, we feel really lucky to be involved with such a progressive project.”

For additional information and to register for the course, please visit