Wayne Law student immersed in business development
August 9, 2013
DETROIT - Business is in Christopher Attar's blood, and he's found an ideal training ground at Wayne State University Law School for the entrepreneurial spirit that has coursed through his veins since elementary school.
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," said Attar, who is a rising third-year student at Wayne Law. "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 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 and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration at the University of Michigan.
Wayne Law's new Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law is providing him with more opportunities to learn and hone his business talent - and to help others in the process. This summer, Attar participated in the program's new Entrepreneurial Immersion Program working with a small startup developing an LED light bulb. Last year, he participated in the program'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 Assistant Professor Eric Williams, director of the Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law. Attar 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 the 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 immersion program and the clinic offer free legal services by students under the supervision of experienced attorneys to qualifying startups.
Dr. Olivia Croom is one of the entrepreneurs Attar helped during his work with the clinic. A dentist, Croom is launching in Detroit production of a new beverage for children called Dancing Zebras to take the place of more sugary drinks. And she's very happy that she saw a TV show on a local PBS station where Williams was talking about the work of Wayne Law's business clinic.
"I called and applied," Croom said. "Eric Williams and Chris met with me. They were instrumental in getting us established as a business. Chris did all the paperwork and made it seamless and not as harrowing as it usually is, and they were very informative. Chris explained everything, step by step, and was very kind and professional. He made things very, very smooth."
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 a forward-thinking, dynamic law school in the heart of Detroit is critical to its continued resurgence."
Photo caption: Christopher Attar
Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students.
Contact: Shawn Starkey