Portland’s largest law firm is diving deeper into the startup community.
Stoel Rives LLP and the Portland Incubator Experiment have embarked on a partnership that will bring legal expertise to one of the city’s best-known business incubators. Among other components, attorneys Brianne Bridegum and Steven Boender will have office hours at PIE.
The firm will also host regular events that offer information on such matters as financing and employment law, Bridegum said.
“We see it as a long-term investment in the community and the ecosystem,” she said. “We are keen to become more involved and contribute. We have a lot of institutional knowledge and expertise that we can contribute.”
The partnership comes as PIE is re-emerging as an incubator with a cohort of companies, as well as a space for them to work. The group had taken a brief hiatus while co-founder and General Manager Rick Turoczy mapped the group’s future, examining how to best serve the community. PIE has become a central player in the Portland startup ecosystem. It started in 2009 as a coworking space and evolved into an incubator and accelerator.
Bridegum noted the firm can offer experts in consumer goods and other corporate specialties.
“We really want to be a vibrant and robust part of the community,” she said.
This marks the first formal partnership between PIE and a professional service provider, said Turoczy. Over the years, professionals have offered their expertise on an individual basis but not as an entire firm. If this new model works, expect to see more.
“We really welcome the opportunity to experiment with Stoel Rives on this collaboration. We’re hopeful that it becomes a model that allows a variety of other service providers — legal or otherwise — to participate more meaningfully in the Portland startup community,” Turoczy said.
“And for Portland startups to have more efficient access to the services they need to build their businesses. We’re really just hoping that it makes it easier on everyone and is mutually beneficial for both sides.”
Though Stoel attorneys are working as advisers to entrepreneurs, Bridegum noted they will not be representing the companies.
Stoel’s work with startups includes its sponsorship of TechFestNW, a two-day technology festival held in Portland, as well as sponsoring the nonprofit PDX Women in Tech. It also backs the Portland IQ program, an effort to create an innovation neighborhood connecting Portland State University, Portland Community College, Oregon Health and Science University and Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.