Published February 25, 2019
Matthew K. Pelkey has joined the law school to lead the new Entrepreneurship Law Center in conjunction with the University’s Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships.
The Center, still under development, is intended as a one-stop resource for Western New York entrepreneurs seeking legal guidance. Law students will have an opportunity to engage with start-ups and to work on policy issues that help promote a business-friendly local environment.
A 2010 graduate of the law school, Pelkey is an active member of the Western New York startup ecosystem. A partner with the Buffalo Law firm Colligan Law LLP, he focuses his practice on counseling startups, entrepreneurs and businesses on entity structures, transactions, and financing. He also devotes a significant amount of his practice to commercial real estate, land use and regulatory compliance. He will maintain his practice while serving in his new role at the law school.
“My intentions have always been business-focused,” says Pelkey. “I thought I would probably end up in an in-house counsel role. But I have a personal interest in economic development and policy, as well as finance, and I ended up believing in entrepreneurship from an economic development perspective. For the Western New York ecosystem, UB is crucial piece of that puzzle.”
Pelkey is a correspondent and author for Upstate Venture Connect. He co-founded the monthly #LaunchHour entrepreneur twitter chat in partnership with Launch NY, and serves as a member of the 43North #WeMakeBuffalo Team. He is also a co-founder and co-director of the Buffalo chapter of Startup Grind, a global startup community.
Outside of the startup community, Pelkey is a strong advocate for sustainable community development where he serves on several boards and committees for local nonprofits dedicated to the regeneration of Western New York. In 2013, he co-founded Black Squirrel Distillery, a New York farm distillery creating craft spirits primarily using New York State agricultural products.
A member of the law school’s adjunct faculty since 2016, Pelkey teaches courses in startup law and technological change in the profession.