Using Experience to Help Young Entrepreneurs
PROVO, Utah – Aug 20, 2021 – Not long after Kim Scoville began teaching at the BYU Marriott School of Business, she noticed a need for legal knowledge in the school’s entrepreneurship program. As a graduate of BYU’s J. Rueben Clark Law School, Scoville has spent her career providing legal advice to startup companies. Her work experience prompted her to create an entrepreneurship class that focused on legal issues for BYU Marriott’s entrepreneurship students, many of whom own or plan to own businesses.
Scoville’s willingness to put in the effort to create a new class for BYU Marriott is connected to her love for BYU, which began when she was an undergraduate student studying international relations. “I picked BYU for my undergrad because the school combines quality academics and an uplifting environment,” she explains. Her fond experiences at BYU led Scoville to continue her education at the school until she earned her law degree in 1996.
After passing the bar exam, Scoville decided to use her expertise to help startups manage the difficult legal challenges that come with running new businesses. She has been a legal counsel for a variety of companies in various stages of the development process. Scoville enjoys experiencing the fresh ideas new companies bring to the world and relishes the opportunity to keep her legal skills up-to-date. “I love the scrappiness startups have,” she says. “I want to enable entrepreneurs and help them recognize when using a lawyer is necessary and when handling problems on their own is an option.”
Her desire to be around resourceful, hardworking individuals is also what connects Scoville to her students. She returned to BYU as an adjunct professor in 2007, a decision she made because of the people who make up the campus community. “My favorite part of teaching is interacting with students. My classes are full of students who are bright and intelligent, and who ask smart questions,” Scoville says.
When she initially began teaching at BYU Marriott, Scoville taught a variety of classes. She facilitated an entrepreneurship lecture series for anyone interested in the subject, and she also oversaw a separate lecture series specifically for women in entrepreneurship. Additionally, Scoville taught a course on the basic skills necessary to start and grow a business.
As Scoville ran these classes and began to better understand the needs of her students, she realized she could use her legal experience to benefit those she taught. “After teaching for a few years, I noticed the entrepreneurship program had a gap— it was missing a class that focused on the legal hurdles specific to entrepreneurship. I felt students needed a more practical approach to business law that centered on startup companies,” she explains. To address this issue, Scoville received permission from the entrepreneurship program and BYU Marriott to create a new course for entrepreneurship students. Her class was launched in 2010 and is now known as Entrepreneurship 302: Legal Issues in Entrepreneurship.
Scoville’s work experience plays an important part in her classroom as she uses real examples to aid her teaching. “I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences in my life as an attorney, so I try and collect stories that illustrate specific points,” she says. “My hope is that while technical details may fade, stories can stick in the minds of students and prompt them when they face similar issues in the future.”
Over the years, Scoville has been impressed with her students’ willingness to apply what she teaches to their own startups. “Many of my students run businesses while in college. These entrepreneurs have pertinent questions because they're in the middle of the challenges of business creation, and I'm inspired by that,” she adds. Her students’ willingness to apply what they learn in her class to their entrepreneurial endeavors does not end at graduation; she often receives emails from former students sharing updates on their businesses and how they manage legal issues.
A sense of gratitude fills Scoville when she reflects on the unique opportunity to teach a class that she started. “I love my class because I created it. The course has grown over the years, which is exciting,” she says. “I haven’t tired of teaching and feel energized at the start of every semester because I’m always so excited to interact with students.”
Scoville’s passion for her class has also sustained her throughout her teaching career. “I never imagined when I started teaching at BYU Marriott that I would still be going strong after fifteen years. I have enjoyed evolving as business environments change so that I can bring fresh ideas to my students,” she continues. Scoville plans to continue working with various startups as legal counsel to keep her skills sharp, allowing her to continue bringing new, exciting stories to the classroom for years to come.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Miller