By Karen Gross

From the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Nexus

Eric Green, LLB 1994For Eric Green, LLB 1994, law school served as a brilliant launching pad—but not to a career in law. From the beginning, he had his eye trained on a different path.

“I went to law school with the expectation that it would be a good segue into business,” Green says.  And clearly, the strategy worked. At 47, the married father of three school-aged children is a full-fledged entrepreneur, the founder and CEO of Askuity, a retail data-management platform for brands and his third successful start-up. Along the way, he spent several years as a management consultant and earned an MBA at INSEAD, an international graduate business school based in France.

But throughout his career, Green says he has drawn on the foundation he built in law school to make him a better businessperson and a more effective decision maker.

“It’s a very rigorous program in terms of academic training and critical thinking,” he says. “Whether it’s reviewing contracts or structuring a company from a financing perspective, it’s a real advantage when I look at peers who don’t have a legal background. When you’re running a business, having the legal context is important.”

Green’s trajectory may not be typical, but it’s not that uncommon either. Over the past year, he’s been sharing his expertise and advice through various events involving alumni like him who chose careers outside of the law. He speaks to groups and meets with students individually, engaging them in discussion about alternative paths that a U of T law degree might lead them to.

“I still remember some of my professors and the challenge of their classes,” Green says. “Being surrounded by very smart people and just learning how to think, how to structure thoughts, how to write persuasively and how to reason. That’s really useful in any kind of career.”

It’s certainly been useful to Green, whose personal and financial contributions to the law school—including $25,000 to establish the Green Family Award—will likely prod future students to think more boldly and venture beyond the bounds of conventional expectations.