Exploring Boundless Horizons: Unveiling the Entrepreneurial Odyssey with a Law Degree

Faculty of Law - Common Law Section

By Common Law

Communication, Faculty of Law

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In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week in November, the Common Law Section hosted a captivating panel discussion titled "Oh the Places you'll go with a law degree."

The event showcased three distinguished alumni of the uOttawa Faculty of Law Common Law Section, each a trailblazer in their own right: Mark Zekulin, Chairman of Invert Inc and Former CEO of Canopy Growth; Erin Cowling, CEO and Founder of Flex Legal Networking Inc; and Neil Schwartz, Senior Business Lawyer at Mann Lawyers LLP and co-owner of Escape Manor.

The panelists generously shared their personal journeys, triumphs, and hurdles, offering invaluable insights into the myriad ways a law degree can serve as a springboard to diverse career paths, especially in the realm of entrepreneurship.

A common theme throughout the discussion was the transformative power of legal education in enhancing critical thinking and negotiation skills. Mark Zekulin explained that instincts are an asset, but not enough for aspiring entrepreneurs. He said "legal training provides a framework for critical analysis and allows you to evaluate and understand risks. Intuition tempered with legal analysis improves your odds of success."

The panelists unanimously underscored the significance of networking and building a stellar reputation. emphasizing that the quality of one's network is dependant on inclusion of a variety of perspectives and voices. "Networking is about presenting your authentic self, connecting with people, and staying in touch,” said Erin Cowling.  “You have to get out there and toot your own horn, especially if you're a woman or a equity-seeking a group,” she added.

Neil Schwartz added a pragmatic dimension to the discussion by highlighting the indispensable role of hard work in the pursuit of success. He affirmed, "There isn't a hack for everything. Diligence and hard work are the key to success. However, if you can blend passion and work together, it makes the journey so much more fulfilling." In a world where perseverance often makes the crucial difference, Schwartz's words serve as a reminder that success is an outcome of sustained effort and dedication.

For students fascinated by the intersection of law and business, the panelists provided valuable advice. They encouraged aspiring entrepreneurs to embrace curiosity, stay open to new experiences, and actively participate in experiential learning opportunities, such as internships and exchanges. Venturing into uncharted territories and seizing new opportunities not only broadens one's skill set but also opens doors to unforeseen possibilities.

The positive outcomes of embracing this entrepreneurial spirit are multifaceted. By exploring diverse avenues, law students can develop a versatile skill set that extends beyond traditional legal practice. Entrepreneurial endeavors demand adaptability, resilience, and creativity – qualities that are honed through experiential learning and exposure to varied challenges.

In conclusion, the "Oh the Places you'll go with a law degree" panel discussion illuminated the limitless possibilities that unfold when legal education meets entrepreneurial ambition. The amalgamation of critical thinking, networking prowess, diligence, and an openness to new experiences creates a dynamic formula for success. As the panelists attested, the journey may be challenging, but with the right mindset and a law degree in hand, the destinations are boundless.