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Law student immersed in business development

August 9, 2013

Business is in third-year law student Christopher Attar’s blood, and he’s found an ideal training ground at Wayne State University Law School to enrich the entrepreneurial spirit that has coursed through his veins since he was a grade-school student.

He started working in his family’s business, Golden Gifts Jewelry in Livonia, as a fifth-grader.

“I began with the jobs that nobody wanted to do — sweeping the floor, vacuuming, cleaning the windows and making phone calls,” Attar said. “However, after a while, I began learning the fun stuff. I saw the intricacies of running a business. I saw the difficulties, but also saw the benefits and opportunities.”

When he was just 13, he started his own small business.

“I would sell things for people on eBay for a small commission, which provided me the opportunity to start saving at a young age for other business ideas,” said Attar, who lives in Farmington Hills.

Wayne Law’s new Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law (PEBL) is providing him with more opportunities to learn and hone his business talent — and to help others in the process.

This summer, Attar, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Michigan, participated in PEBL’s new Entrepreneurial Immersion Program working with a small startup developing an LED light bulb, and last year, he participated in PEBL’s Business and Community Law Clinic. Both experiences offered him hands-on legal experience with a variety of real-world businesses.

With the startup, Attar worked with WSU engineering student Tom Kim and others to help create a platform to market Kim’s light bulb.

“My focus was on taking the startup from a group of people with an idea and a prototype to thinking about an actual business,” Attar said. “I was able to talk to the group to lay out the general options for developing and selling the product, and the potential rewards and risks with each option. I found it very beneficial to work alongside people with different educations and experiences.  I was able to create a more developed executive summary for the startup. The executive summary was created to explain the business and the product in a very concise form so that Tom and the group could use it as a ‘teaser’ to initiate contact with investors.”

Attar said he found the new immersion program well-organized by Wayne Law Professor Eric Williams, director of PEBL, and he strongly recommends participation in it to other law students interested in business and entrepreneurship.

“You get to work right along with new, developing companies on strategic business work,” Attar said. “We are actually helping with business, marketing and other areas of need.”

 Working with PEBL’s Business and Community Law Clinic also gave him valuable experience, he said, and a chance to contribute to Detroit’s economic growth.

“I had a chance to incorporate an LLC in Michigan, draft an operating agreement and provide a thorough evaluation of my client’s intellectual property and FDA issues,” Attar said. “I also, along with another student, was able to guide another client through the process of applying for 501(c)(3) status. Overall, the clinic allowed me to interact on my own with real clients who were starting real businesses, while also learning the technical and legal requirements for the documents I was drafting or the issues I was evaluating.”

The clinic offers free legal services by students under the supervision of experienced attorneys to qualifying startups.

Williams said: “Part of our mission is to ensure that aspiring business professionals have the opportunity to participate in the economic revival of Detroit and surrounding suburbs. The culture of innovation, growth and entrepreneurship currently growing in Detroit, despite the city’s current financial issues, provides a special environment for Wayne Law students. A vibrant Detroit is important to the entire state of Michigan, and forward-thinking, dynamic law school in the heart of Detroit is critical to its continued resurgence.”