Creating a Room Where It Happens

Stephanie Melnick

She Stands Tall,
Legal Updates

For the third consecutive year, I had the pleasure of teaching law students for a week at the University of Wisconsin Law School, my alma mater. I taught the Lawyering Skills Class’s small business week. The purpose of the class is for students to learn “real world” skills from practicing attorneys. We create simulated facts based on typical situations and let students practice drafting contracts, interviewing clients, and negotiating transactions.  

The 2024 Lawyering Skills Class experience was particularly interesting because Sarah joined me as an instructor, we updated the simulated facts to address statutory changes (e.g., the Corporate Transparency Act), and there were only five women law students, out of about 35 total, in the class. Part of my goal in teaching this class is to open law students’ eyes, women and BIPOC students in particular, to the rewarding career that is representing small businesses—community involvement, meaningful client relationships, plus the inside scoop on cool businesses in your area.  

Fast forward two weeks to International Women’s Day and opening day for Women’s Entrepreneurship Week (WEW) 2024 event registrations. We are blown away! Everyone who signed up so far is a woman or non-binary person and the overwhelming majority are entrepreneurs. (We promise no mansplaining at WEW because all speakers are women or non-binary people.)  

I’ve seen many times, and most recently during the UW Law School class, that creating a Room Where It Happens depends on who’s in the room. It does not happen automatically. So, we’re intentionally Building The Table at WEW 2024 including: 

  • 80 speakers with diverse backgrounds, experience, and areas of expertise 
  • 33 events, including two, By the Book 1 and 2, about legal issues for small businesses 
  • Daily opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect formally and informally 

It will happen at WEW because together we’re gathering vulnerable, curious people who want to learn from and lean on each other. WEW will be The Room Where It Happens for women and non-binary entrepreneurs. Join us! 

Stephanie Attorney

Stephanie, owner of Melnick & Melnick, S.C. and self-described law nerd has been practicing law for over 25 years. Stephanie loves taking a deep dive into clients’ businesses to learn what makes them tick. She also relishes a well-written (short and simple) contract and is pleased to draft and negotiate all kinds, including leases, operating agreements, and terms of service.

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