Jeff Ward is Director of Duke Law School’s Start-Up Ventures Clinic, where he and his students counsel eligible seed and early-stage entrepreneurs on a wide variety of legal matters including formation, founder equity and vesting, shareholder agreements, intellectual property protection and licensing, commercialization strategies, and operational issues.
Ward focuses his scholarship and professional activities on issues of social enterprise and ensuring equitable access to the tools of economic growth.
Prior to serving as Director of the Start-Up Ventures Clinic, Ward was supervising attorney in Duke Law School’s Community Enterprise Clinic.
Ward has also served as a Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Fellow at the Community Economic Development Law Project of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc., where he counseled small businesses and non-profit organizations regarding corporate structure, intellectual property matters, real estate transactions, personnel and employment issues, and contractual matters and where, in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs, he provided legal and planning advice to start-up entrepreneurs.
As an associate with the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins, Ward focused on M&A and capital markets transactions. He offered presentations on issues pertinent to start-ups for The Law Project and taught issues of constitutional law to students in Chicago Public Schools as part of Lawyers in the Classroom, a program of the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago.
Ward earned a JD/LLM in International & Comparative Law from Duke Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude and Order of the Coif. He received the James S. Bidlake Memorial Award for Excellence in Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing; faculty awards both for Clinical Practice and for International, Transnational, and Comparative Law; and the Justin Miller Award for Integrity. Ward served as student director of the Duke Law Innocence Project, as an assistant to Professors John Weistart (Contracts) and Ralf Michaels (Comparative Law), and as an editor of Law & Contemporary Problems, for which he was a co-recipient of the David Cavers Award for outstanding editing.
Ward graduated from the University of Notre Dame, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a BA in the Program of Liberal Studies (Great Books) and a concentration in Philosophy, Politics, & Economics. He also holds an MA in Literature from Northern Illinois University, where he won the national PC Somerville Award for academic scholarship, service, and promise as an educator.
Before turning to the law, Ward worked first as a business consultant with a global management-consulting firm in Chicago and then as an English teacher in the Chicago suburbs.
Ward is licensed to practice in North Carolina and maintains his own law practice, counseling start-ups and offering corporate and transactional legal services to for-profit and non-profit business entities. He and his wife have two children.