Member Spotlight: Catching Up with David Colligan

Western Ny's Man best known for startups, community service and maple syrup

By Noa Simons

After Bright Buffalo Niagara last week, I had a chance to sit down with David Colligan, founder of Buffalo-based Colligan Law. David has been advising startups, supporting the Buffalo ecosystem, and overall doing things differently for his whole career - from the time the billable hour became popular, his approach was to buck that trend and stay true to heritage of civic duty embedded in the legal profession. And today, he runs the only law firm in town that requires its lawyers to do community service. I appreciated that he helped Upstate Capital sponsor the reception after Bright, together with the ECIDA, and thought that was a good place to start with David’s interest in startups and the broader Western NY community. 

Building the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

In addition to being a long-time supporter of startup initiatives, including Bright and 43 North, David co-founded Launch NY with Marnie LaVigne and Al Culliton.  When he was appointed to the board of the Ralph Wilson Foundation, a Detroit and Western NY-based organization with the mandate to spend down $1.2B between 2015 and 2035 on community-building, he stepped down as chairman of Launch NY (Launch is a recipient of funding from the Ralph Wilson Foundation).

Supporting the Environmental Ecosystem

He participates in a number of organizations related to advancing both the entrepreneurial and the environmental ecosystem in and around Buffalo. He is part of the Buffalo Angels, the  Western New York Venture Association, and, until last year, The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation. David chaired the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Re-Tree WNY. After becoming enamored with making his own maple syrup and learning about the trees and forest management practices that sustain maple syrup production, David dedicated his time to the reforestation of the city of Buffalo, and helped plant 30,000 trees in Buffalo and the surrounding towns through those organizations.

David’s Superpower

In his legal practice, David likes supporting startups, and is proud of the fact that his competitors often recommend his firm when they need outside representation. “I have great ethics, and everyone knows that people who become my clients will be treated well,” David said, and went on to describe his overarching talent. “My secret superpower is identifying assets that can be retained, restored or enhanced - in many areas of life. I try to make existing assets have more value in some way.”

Buffalo is lucky to have David Colligan and his firm supporting the community in myriad ways. Whether doing fixed rate corporate formation with a new entrepreneur, or more complicated litigation to defend intellectual property disputes, David and the 10 lawyers at Colligan Law bring both expertise and dedication to the Western New York ecosystem and their clients.

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