Rise Conference:
Talk Civic Tech and Innovation at Rise, a new event brought to you by Technical.ly, Oct. 22-24

Jul. 21, 2011 8:00 am

ApprenNet wants to train the next generation of startup lawyers

Drexel professor Karl Okamoto believes that to continue Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial growth, the city will need smarter lawyers. “Most lawyers who walk the street are very poorly trained on how to help entrepreneurs,” he says. “Law school does a poor job training people how to practice, particularly when their clients are doing business as opposed to suing each other.” To […]

Drexel professor Karl Okamoto believes that to continue Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial growth, the city will need smarter lawyers.

“Most lawyers who walk the street are very poorly trained on how to help entrepreneurs,” he says. “Law school does a poor job training people how to practice, particularly when their clients are doing business as opposed to suing each other.”

To help young lawyers be better educated, he’s launched ApprenNet, a site that hopes to solve this problem in Philadelphia and elsewhere by directly connecting legal professionals with young lawyers. The site has four employees and is currently searching for beta testers says Okamoto, who sits on the board of Cosi and teaches transactional law at Drexel’s Earle Mack School of Law.

The site allows lawyers to participate in an online web-based simulation. When students hit a roadblock, they are immediately connected with a mentor to help the student break through the difficult issue or problem.

Additionally, when the student has completed the simulation, a mentor will be able to comment and correct any errors. Recognizing that lawyers a busy, ApprenNet asked them to give small blocks of time throughout their day, roughly 15 minutes. The hope is to build a strong enough network of mentors that there is always one readily available.

“It’s our biggest assumption to test,” admits Okamoto, “and that’s what we’re doing right now. We want to know how willing a 55-year-old is willing to use iPads and other technology for ApprenNet.”

Okamoto is beginning by charging students $500 a year and has funded the site thanks to a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation and hopes to launch the site’s beta in August. In the meantime, lawyers who would like the mentor and students interested in learning can sign up via the service’s Launchrock form for more details.

 

-30-

Sean Blanda is an adviser to Technical.ly, the local technology news network, having cofounded its flagship Technically Philly in February 2009. He is a media consultant, engagement editor for Behance and lives in Brooklyn, NYC.

Advertisement

Comments

  1. Tech firms in Philly growing fast, former Philly startup Sqoot in hot water over sexist remarks on hackathon flyer [Startup Roundup] — Technically Philly / March 21, 2012

    [...] Flying Kite covers ApprenNet, which we covered in in July of last year. [...]

  2. Tonight: 12 local education ventures will compete for prizes, including $5,000, at PhillySEED [Startup Roundup] — Technically Philly / March 28, 2012

    [...] ApprenNet – A learning platform for mentoring and collaboration. We covered the venture last July. [...]

  3. PhilaSoup, Springboard Collaborative take home prizes at Philly SEED education pitch event — Technically Philly / April 3, 2012

    [...] Practical: ApprenNet – The company, which we covered last July, is hoping to bring its existing law education collaboration platform to the K-12 space, a natural [...]

  4. » ApprenNet Profiled by Technically Philly ApprenNet / April 20, 2012

    [...] the blog for all things “tech” in Philadelphia, posted a profile of ApprenNet [...]

  5. Apprennet: online law education startup to build open web course on M&A with $500k from National Science Foundation — Technically Philly / July 26, 2012

    [...] a company that’s rethinking legal education and that demoed at last month’s EdTech Meetup, has received two NSF grants in the past, but [...]

Leave a Comment