Innovation Trek 2024 Announcement

The Innovation Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School is proud to announce that it will once again be taking an Innovation Trek over Spring Break, bringing our students to Silicon Valley March 11-14, 2024. The Innovation Trek will take twice as many students and be twice as long as the 2022 iteration. Now, students participating in the Innovation Clinic, as well as the JD/MBA program and Doctoroff Business Leadership Program, will be eligible to attend, and the trip will last four days instead of two and a half days to provide even more opportunities for learning and networking.

Participating students will travel to Silicon Valley to meet with global leaders in emerging companies and venture capital, in industries such as biotech and life sciences, climate tech, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and more. They will learn from business and legal experts regarding issues facing startups at every stage of the company life cycle, from inception to exit to life as a public company. This uniquely University of Chicago experience will leverage the Law School’s historic leadership in the field of law and economics to facilitate meaningful learning and connection between alumni, students, and other speakers who are thought leaders in this space.

The University of Chicago Law School is the home for future business-minded lawyers and provides many different programs to facilitate learning and interest in this space. The Innovation Clinic provides second- and third-year students at the Law School with the opportunity to counsel startups and venture capital firms both within and outside of the University on transactional and regulatory matters. While there are many entrepreneurship and transactional clinics at law schools across the country, what makes the Innovation Clinic unique is its focus on high-growth startups as well as its ability to advise startups on complicated and unsettled regulatory questions. The Law School’s JD/MBA program, run in partnership with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, combines the interdisciplinary strengths and distinct flexibility of two world-leading institutions to prepare students for careers at the intersection of business and law. The Doctoroff Business Leadership Program—a certificate-granting program that blends the best of the MBA curriculum into the Law School’s JD program—is designed to arm law students with the skills and knowledge that they will need to thrive as corporate attorneys, in-house counsel, business leaders, and entrepreneurs.

The Innovation Trek will be an unparalleled opportunity for the Law School’s business and transactionally focused students to learn from and network with professionals in the Bay Area, which remains the nation’s largest hub for venture capital and innovation. It will take what students are learning in the classroom, or in isolated internships, or in connection with discrete client projects, and put it into the context of a broader market and industry like only the University of Chicago can do.

“We were so fortunate to have the opportunity to take our first Innovation Trek, and are enormously excited to build on the success of that trip as we take this next journey,” says Emily Underwood, the Bluhm-Helfand Director of the Innovation Clinic and an Associate Clinical Professor of Law at the Law School. “The enthusiasm and passion with which our speakers greeted our students and passed along their knowledge during our first Trek was overwhelming, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be doing it again, but bigger and better.”

The inaugural Innovation Trek as well as this iteration were and are funded by a generous gift from Douglas Clark, an alumnus of the Law School and a Managing Partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

The Innovation Trek will not only provide a great educational and networking opportunity for students and industry experts alike but will also spark interest on the part of law students to practice in this space after they graduate.

Underwood says “Startups pioneering innovative technologies will address the world’s biggest problems like climate change, homelessness, and access to healthcare. There are so many opportunities for students in this area, whether at a firm, or in-house at a startup or later stage company, or in regulatory consulting or government roles, that are future-proofed against the proliferation of artificial intelligence in legal practice because of the novelty of these companies. Ideally, when we do this Trek years from now, we’ll be meeting with lots of Innovation Clinic alums who have pursued both conventional and unconventional career paths in innovation and venture capital in part because of the ideas and people that they were exposed to on the Trek.” Law school alumni in the area have repeatedly expressed a desire for more Law School students to follow them West, a request the Innovation Clinic hopes to fulfill.

If you have any questions about the Innovation Trek, the Innovation Clinic, the JD/MBA Program, or the Doctoroff Business Leadership Program, or would like to get involved and participate, you are encouraged to please contact Emily Underwood at or Meg Krishnan at