PHILADELPHIA, PA – February 29, 2012 - Keiretsu Forum, the world’s largest private equity angel investor network, has established the first Due Diligence Fellowship Programs in its Mid-Atlantic Region. The Philadelphia Chapter initiated the program by recruiting local law students to engage in the due diligence process.
Patrick Bello, a third year law (3L) student at the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University, interviewed the Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s Vice President, Vince Leusner, for a project in early October 2011. After speaking with Leusner, Bello received an email from the Chapter’s President, Howard Lubert, about the possibility of starting the Fellowship Program. What started out as a simple phone interview soon turned into a mutually beneficial relationship for five Drexel Law students and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter member-investors and Entrepreneurs.
The Fellows attend the monthly screening and forum meetings held in Philadelphia where they observe the Entrepreneur presentations and participate in the discussions about the companies with the Chapter’s investors. The students then indicate which projects interest them and are assigned to a due diligence team led by one of the investors. Over the next few weeks, the students assist with the due diligence process. Last month, Lubert conducted a workshop to teach the students the rigorous due diligence process used by Keiretsu Forum. The students receive continuous training and feedback from the due diligence team members and the Chapter leaders throughout the program.
According to Ira Wallace, MD, Vice President of Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic the program has proved to be valuable for both the students and the Chapter members alike. “Our DD Fellows provide great input and serve as equals on our teams, both receiving and delivering value during each 6 week project, said Wallace.
Bello described the experience as, “A unique educational opportunity for law students. For those of us soon entering into the fields of emerging growth business and corporate law, understanding how investors evaluate companies is a critical component to becoming more effective advocates for our clients.” The investors also find the program beneficial, appreciating the help of conducting the sometimes tedious due diligence process.”
With graduation and the bar exam rapidly approaching, the third year students have, as part of their fellowship requirements, recruited the 2Ls (second year law students) that will replace them in the Spring. The 2Ls attended the region’s Due Diligence Workshop led by Lubert in February and will start attending monthly meetings. Under the 3L Fellow’s guidance, they will begin assisting with the DD projects in March.