Bergers Establish Entrepreneur Law Clinic

Mitchell Berger and Sharon Berger establish Entrepreneur Law Clinic at NSU -- Nova Southeastern UniversityNova Southeastern University (NSU) announced that the Sharon and Mitchell W. Berger Entrepreneur Law Clinic is being established at its Shepard Broad College of Law. The clinic is made possible thanks to funds donated by NSU Trustee Mitchell Berger and his wife Sharon.

According to NSU College of Law dean Jon M. Garon, the clinic will enable NSU to provide direct legal service to nonprofit organizations, NSU students, and researchers associated with the new NSU Center for Collaborative Research (CCR), as well as innovators in technology, life sciences, and in the creative communities.

The gift was donated as part of Realizing Potential, NSU’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign. This is the largest philanthropic campaign in the university’s history, which aims to raise $250 million for students, faculty and 21st century education.

Dean Garon said South Florida lacks an existing transactional pro bono and lo bono legal representation program that specifically targets the needs of nonprofit organizations, low to medium income inventors and innovators in those technology, life sciences and creative communities.

“The lack of transactional legal services, conflict counseling, and risk mitigation for these entrepreneurs creates artificial roadblocks to the acquisition of capital, employment, contractual services and other essential services for an economically viable business,” Garon said. “Establishing this clinic can go a long way in helping these individuals realize their full potential.”

He said the need is particularly acute among traditional under-served migrant and minority communities.

Mitchell Berger shared the motivation for the gift. “The Future of South Florida business will be in life science and technology development and the commercialization of those ideas.  The legal profession will need to train its professionals to be counselors to the business community as it transforms itself to take on new 21st century challenges.  Sharon and I hope this new clinic will assist the training of home grown lawyers to represent our next generation of South Florida entrepreneurs.

A member of the NSU Board of Trustees, Berger is the founder and Co-Chairman of Berger Singerman, a full-service commercial law firm established in 1985 with more than 80 lawyers and offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Tallahassee and Boca Raton. Berger has practiced law for 30 years and represented several Fortune 500 companies in commercial disputes. Among many accolades, he was named one of the “Top 10 Lawyers of the Decade” by The South Florida Legal Guide.  Sharon Berger is a white collar criminal defense attorney. She serves on the Board of Governors of the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, and on the Board of Governors of the NSU Shepard Broad College of Law.

Garon said an initial gift from Mitchell and Sharon Berger to the university will fund the clinic annually, to support the work of an attorney specialist with the title “Berger Family Fellow,” who will administer the clinic and coordinate community outreach.  The clinic will be located on NSU’s Fort Lauderdale/Davie campus in the Leo Goodwin Sr. Law Building, which houses all the NSU College of Law clinics.

In addition to the direct legal services, the clinic, in partnership with other NSU colleges, will serve to extend science technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields for NSU students who are inventing and innovating as well as STEM education for law students working in fields such as intellectual property, data security and technology. The new clinic will also facilitate workshops, outreach and community training to educate and encourage entrepreneurship and creative business development, playing an especially important role in underserved and economically disadvantage communities.