Canadian tech startups get free strategic legal counsel through a new experiential learning program from the DMZ, MT>Ventures and Toronto Metropolitan’s Lincoln Alexander School of Law

Students of the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University get hands-on corporate law experience while lowering barriers to access legal support for early-stage tech founders


TORONTO, March 29, 2022
– The DMZ and MT>Ventures have announced a new program designed to provide strategic legal advice and assistance to Canadian tech entrepreneurs. 

Unveiled today, Startup Legal Support will give students at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law a work-integrated education experience while providing invaluable legal support to early-stage tech founders based at the DMZ. It’s imperative for startup founders to formalize their legal processes in the early days of growing their companies, yet sophisticated legal services have long been inaccessible and costly for startup founders. Startup Legal Support is designed to support the advancement and commercialization of Canada’s tech ecosystem by helping startup founders navigate the legal landscape.

The program was developed alongside MT>Ventures, a division of the leading Canadian law firm McCarthy Tétrault, and oversees the provision of legal services that students support founders on, including the preparation of employment contracts, terms of service, liability reviews, customer proposals, release agreements, founder agreements, sales contracts and more. 

“When early-stage startups struggle to navigate the legal aspects of their business, they put themselves at risk by not seeking expert advice or counsel, said Sherif El Tawil, Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships at the DMZ. “Not only is our new program connecting founders with timely legal support, but it’s also giving law students the opportunity to work with Canada’s thriving startup ecosystem and get exposure to a wide range of legal issues as DMZ companies grow and scale.”

“We’re delighted to be part of this new initiative giving DMZ startups access to Bay Street legal experience and a real head start in getting their companies off the ground,” said Aliya Ramji, Co-founder of MT>Ventures and a partner at McCarthy Tetrault LLP. “The program represents a great opportunity to prime a new generation of lawyers for guiding companies and founders in Toronto’s world-class startup ecosystem.”

We are proud to collaborate with the DMZ and MT>Ventures on Startup Legal Support, which was inspired by Nicholas Hill – one of our inaugural law students,” said Donna E. Young, Founding Dean of the Lincoln Alexander School of Law. “This program is a testament to our students who are building a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the law school to tackle novel challenges facing their future clients. This is exactly what our law school was designed to do – to shape lawyers who are equipped to transform the legal profession in an innovation-based economy.”

Zach Sheng, Founder and CEO of CharmyPet, a company in the DMZ’s Incubator, shared his experience getting support through the Startup Legal Support program. “The Startup Legal Support program has provided Charmy Pet with valuable legal advice and hands-on support in helping draft multiple contracts. The program’s law students are talented, and they make legal work easy and accessible for startups.”

Startup Legal Support will be available to founders in the DMZ’s Incubator Program and Black Innovation Program.

For more information on Startup Legal Support and DMZ programming eligibility, head over to dmz.to/incubator.

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Media contact
Luvy Hardy, The DMZ
luvy.hardy@ryerson.ca

About the DMZ

The DMZ is a leading startup incubator equipping the next generation of leading tech entrepreneurs with the tools needed to build, launch, and scale highly impactful startups. By providing connections to customers, coaching, capital, and a community, the DMZ’s customized approach helps innovators reach the next milestone in their entrepreneurial journey – whatever that might be. Through its award-winning programming, the DMZ has helped more than 670 startups raise $1.55 billion in capital and create 4,550+ jobs. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada with globally-accessible programming, the DMZ has a widely-recognized international presence with offices in Vietnam and India, and partnerships across North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

About MT>Ventures

MT>Ventures lets startups shift focus from simply surviving the day-to-day, going beyond legal services to deliver access to the industry expertise, professional talent, and capital opportunities needed to realize their full potential.

About the Lincoln Alexander School of Law

The Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Toronto Metropolitan University is reimagining legal education in pursuit of a more just society. Its mission is to equip the lawyers of tomorrow with the contemporary skills and experience required to expand the reach of justice and respond to the evolving challenges that face Canadian society.

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