Honoree: Paul Belonick

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Director, Startup Legal Garage | Assistant Professor of Practice, UC Hastings College of Law
Startup Legal Garage
University of Virginia Law School

Professor Paul Belonick serves his community by helping early-stage startups and teaching UCLA and UC Hastings College of Law students through UC Hastings College of Law’s Startup Legal Garage program, which was founded in 2010 by Professor Robin Feldman. Belonick serves as director of the Startup Legal Garage, an innovative program in which law students provide legal work for early stage tech and biotech startups. The work is supervised for free by outside law firms, while the professors teach accompanying doctrinal and skills classes. Every year, under Belonick’s direction, the law students and supervising attorneys take on 50-plus projects. Most of Startup Legal Garage’s companies come through the program’s partnerships with numerous incubators and accelerators, including QB3, Y Combinator, Cyclotron Road, Tech Futures Group, HustleFund, Stanford Business School, Hackers/Founders, Women 2.0, Black Founders and more. With its particular focus on promoting women entrepreneurs, Startup Legal Garage has been honored by the Association of American Law Schools as one of its “Innovative & Other Outstanding Programs” and has been featured in the American Bar Association Journal and other news outlets.

As an attorney, Belonick has practiced at both small and internationally recognized firms in areas ranging from criminal and family law to mass torts and securities and business litigation. Belonick and the Startup Legal Garage help budding entrepreneurs - especially women, minority, disadvantaged, and veteran founders - turn groundbreaking ideas into growing, stable companies with the potential to reach millions with solutions for the world’s social, economic, health, and countless other problems. Belonick prides himself in helping early-stage startups that resolve problems through innovation throughout the nation. The program charges no equity and no fees. The law students come from myriad backgrounds and work directly with founders. Over the years, Belonick and the Startup Legal Garage have launched founders whose work has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with hundreds of companies with highly acclaimed products, services and solutions for the world’s biggest challenges. Among Belonick’s important projects last year was his work helping early-stage companies seeking to provide more credit resources to underserved communities, cure cancer, provide residential solutions to tenants and landlords, and teaching law students.