Justine M. Kasznica, chair of the Firm's Innovation Practice Group, focuses her practice on providing full service legal and ancillary support to clients that are in the business of creating novel, better or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas in industries with high growth and high impact potential. Ms. Kasznica's primary focus is to advance the robotics, aerospace and commercial space industries, but her clients span the education technology, entertainment technology, healthcare IT, mobile apps and social venture markets. Clients served by the Innovation Practice Group include technology and high growth potential start-ups, universities and research institutions seeking to commercialize new technologies, later stage companies developing innovative products and services, as well as investors.
Ms. Kasznica is committed to Pittsburgh's economic development and is actively involved in a variety of entrepreneurial and community outreach endeavors. She currently serves on the boards of the Thrill Mill and the Yale Club of Pittsburgh, and offers Open Office hours at Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Ms. Kasznica contributed to the development of and participates in the Small Business Legal Assistance Program of the Allegheny County Bar Association, which offers pro bono legal assistance to underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Pittsburgh area.
Ms. Kasznica writes articles, participates in speaking engagements, and leads workshops on legal topics concerning the robotics, aerospace and commercial space industries, as well as on topics relevant to emerging technology companies. She also serves as an advisor to a number of local tech companies and entrepreneurship-focused organizations and programs.
Prior to joining Schnader, Ms. Kasznica served as Executive Director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law Innovation Practice Institute. While at Pitt, she co-founded the course, "Law & Entrepreneurship," which she continues to teach as an Adjunct Professor.
Ms. Kasznica is a founding member of ReefBot, a collaborative partnership between Carnegie Mellon's Robotic Institute, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium to develop autonomous underwater vehicles for the purpose of oceanographic exploration and coral reef conservation.
AREAS OF EXPERIENCE
- Serving as outside general counsel to a variety of young technology companies, providing them with general corporate legal support and services.
- Representing investors and investment funds and advising on convertible debt, angel and venture financing deals.
- Assisting emerging technology companies with formation, capitalization, and general business operational needs.
- Drafting, negotiating, and advising on software licensing agreements for educational technology, entertainment technology, healthcare IT and security and logistics IT companies.
- Advising companies on liability exposure with respect to trademark/copyright infringement and other statutory claims and issues.
Aerospace and Commercial Space
- Serving as outside general counsel to several robotics companies in the retail, healthcare, homeland security and defense, aerospace, and commercial space industries.
- Advising on legal issues surrounding Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), including commercial drones.
- Negotiating technology commercialization licenses and funding agreements on behalf of robotics companies with universities, government agencies, and technology development laboratories.
- Assisting robotics companies with capitalization, including state and federal funding, accelerator funding, angel investment, and corporate, private equity or venture capital financing.
- Drafting payload and communications services contracts for a commercial space robotics and lunar lander development client.
- Negotiating payload launch services contracts, NASA Space Act Agreements, SBIRs, STTRs, BAAs, and other technology development agreements.
- Advising on regulatory issues, including FAA approvals and certifications, payload acceptance requirements, and FCC compliance requirements.
- Advising on export control and sanctions issues, including the development of in-house ITAR compliance programs. Also negotiating technical assistance agreements (TAAs) for early-state aerospace companies.
ATTORNEY SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Rutgers University School of Law - Camden, J.D., 2006
Yale University, B.A., Political Science, 2003
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Honorable Thomas M. Hardiman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- NepalRobotics.org, Advisor
- Thrill Mill, Board Member
- MIT Enterprise Forum, Board Member
- Yale Club of Pittsburgh, Board Member
- Selected as one of Pennsylvania's "Lawyers on the Fast Track" by The Legal Intelligencer, 2014
- Presenter, TEDx Budapest - Future 2.0, 2014
- Recipient of the Pittsburgh Business Times Fast Tracker Award, 2013
- Recipient of Pittsburgh's "Forty under Forty," 2012