Coming of Age: Innovation Districts and the Role of Law Schools

23 Pages Posted: 23 May 2015 Last revised: 15 Nov 2015

See all articles by Jennifer S. Fan

Jennifer S. Fan

University of Washington - School of Law

Date Written: May 19, 2015


New urban models, dubbed “innovation districts” are gaining traction in entrepreneurial-focused areas across the United States. This article begins by defining what innovation districts are. It then examines the potential role that law schools, together with technology transfer offices, can play as innovation cultivators within such districts. Specifically, it looks at three potential models that law schools can consider when contemplating a relationship with the technology transfer office within a university. Integrating a clinic and technology transfer office within an innovation district does not come without its challenges, however. Accordingly, this article will suggest ways for transactional law clinics to overcome such obstacles and establish a robust relationship with technology transfer offices. The collaboration between these two innovation cultivators, in turn, will benefit not only the law schools and technology transfer offices, but the innovation districts as well. Ultimately, transactional law clinics and technology transfer offices can play a significant role by providing technical and legal know-how to innovation districts.

Keywords: innovation districts, entrepreneurship, law schools, legal education, clinical education, transactional law, incubators, cultivators, technology transfer, urban development, neighborhoods, startups, spin-outs

Suggested Citation

Fan, Jennifer S., Coming of Age: Innovation Districts and the Role of Law Schools (May 19, 2015). 22 Clinical Law Review 91 (2015), University of Washington School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-16, Available at SSRN: or

Jennifer S. Fan (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98105-3020
United States
(206) 685-2636 (Phone)


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