February 11, 2011

Polsinelli Shughart PC is increasing its commitment to help entrepreneurs succeed. The law firm will donate $100,000 in cash support and in-kind legal services during a four-year period beginning in 2011 and become a top-tier sponsor of the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. The firm has sponsored the Olin Cup business plan competition for years. The competition began at Washington University in St. Louis in 1988 and is now recognized as one of the finest entrepreneurship competitions in the country. Polsinelli Shughart’s increased sponsorship will support the Olin Cup and many other Skandalaris Center programs for developing entrepreneurs.

“I’m pleased to share that we have substantially increased our involvement,” said Polsinelli Shughart Managing Director/St. Louis Randy Gerber. “The firm recognizes that startup companies often have promising ideas but may lack capital and experience. We want to provide the tools to help beginning companies succeed.”

Polsinelli Shughart first became involved with the Olin Cup Competition because it provides unique opportunities for entrepreneurs in a university setting.

“When we discussed increasing our involvement with the Olin Cup, there was immediately a consensus,” said Polsinelli Shughart Shareholder Christopher C. Swenson who spearheads the law firm’s Olin Cup team. “The Olin Cup and the Skandalaris Center have an impeccable reputation and are a major part of the St. Louis and entrepreneurial communities. We’re proud to be part of a network helping to make successful entrepreneurship happen.”

Participants in annual competitions sponsored by the Skandalaris Center are exposed to untapped resources including venture capital and business development opportunities. Some early-stage entrepreneurs have not had the benefit of or sufficient resources to obtain the professional services necessary to begin a business or take it to the next level. Polsinelli Shughart views its increased participation as a way to further its role in assisting with the legal needs of the participating companies and supporting the entrepreneurs behind those companies.

“It’s very rewarding to work with these startup companies and see the drive and ambition which propelled them to get to this level,” said Swenson who also assists businesses with employment issues. And often legally, the companies are not aware of what it takes to protect their ideas and propel them to the next level.”

Polsinelli Shughart will work with the Skandalaris Center to assist Olin Cup participants with legal issues ranging from protecting the companies’ names and ideas, to ensuring contracts and corporate matters are in order according to Polsinelli Shughart Shareholder Andrew T. Hoyne whose practice is focused upon the representation of emerging and established life sciences companies, many of which are spawned by regional universities.

“We understand when startups succeed, it is good for the whole community,” said Hoyne. “Everyone wins.”

Fast Facts about Polsinelli Shughart as related to the Olin Cup

• St. Louis clients include past Olin Cup finalists, tenants at local incubators, companies funded by BioGenerator, and licensees of local universities.
• Clients include emerging technology and growth companies in fields such as life sciences, information technology, alternative energy and consumer products.
• The firm works with clients in raising growth funding, protecting their intellectual property, building their relationships with other companies and institutions, and growing their businesses.
• The firm is involved in helping to build and support the emerging technology company network throughout the St. Louis region and beyond.
The Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis will announce winners in the Olin Cup Competition on February 3. Washington University is a designated campus of the Kaufmann Foundation, a national foundation headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri that supports entrepreneurialism.

For info contact:

Public Relations Manager Heather McMichael, 816,395-0618,
Washington University in St. Louis, Gerry Everding. 314-935-6375,

About Polsinelli Shughart PC

With more than 500 attorneys, Polsinelli Shughart PC ( is a national law firm that is a recognized leader in the areas of business law, financial services, real estate and business litigation. Serving corporate, institutional and individual clients, Polsinelli Shughart is redefining the business of law by sharing ideas, goals and outcomes with its clients. The firm builds enduring relationships by creating value beyond legal services - with passion, ingenuity and a sense of urgency. The firm has offices located in Kansas City; St. Louis; Phoenix; Chicago; Denver; Washington, D.C.; New York; Wilmington, Del.; Overland Park, Kan.; St. Joseph, Springfield, and Jefferson City, Mo.; Topeka, Kan.; and Edwardsville, Ill.