A (venture) capital idea

Photo by Jack Liu

Law students Rebecca Fritch and Miles Haladay look through the book for their venture capital seminar. Miles’s father, Jay Haladay, donated sixteen books to help make the class possible.

It all started with a conversation. Portland software entrepreneur Jay Haladay and Associate Professor Robert Illig were talking about what it’s like for business startups in Oregon. Haladay, C.E.O. of Coaxis Incorporated, was telling Illig how most of his legal advisers were on the East Coast. Oregon needs venture capital, said Haladay, and the lawyers to handle it.

"He had a point,” says Illig, who decided to start a venture capital seminar to teach Oregon’s future lawyers about private equity funds. “It would help attract and retain startup businesses to Oregon, the kinds of businesses that create jobs.”

But finding a textbook for such an atypical law course was a challenge. “There are business textbooks for finance,” he says, “but this is a law class. The only books available are for practicing lawyers, and those are expensive. If students are taking five courses, we can hardly ask them to spend $300 on a book.”

Illig negotiated a discount with the publisher of Private Equity Funds: Business Structure and Operations by James M. Schell. Haladay, whose son, Miles ’06, is a student in the class, donated sixteen books. The donated books will be used again by the next round of students, and Illig expects them to last about five years. “It worked out great,” says Illig. “It’s a targeted gift with a direct impact. We probably couldn’t have done the class without this gift.”