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Datek CEO Edward Nicoll '97 To Speak at Yale Law and Enterprise Forum Speaker Series

Edward J. Nicoll '97, chairman and chief executive officer of Datek Online Holdings Corp. and chairman of The Island ECN, will address the Yale Law and Enterprise CEO Speakers Series on Wednesday, April 3, 2002, at 6:00 p.m. in Room 129. The talk is free and open to the public.

The Yale Law and Enterprise Forum is only two months old, but it may have already found its "perfect speaker."

YLEF founder and president Thomas Lehrman '04 explains that the idea behind the new student organization is simple: In the academy, there has often been a division between studies of individual enterprise and entrepreneurship, which reside in the business school, and studies of top-down policy decisions, which reside in the law school. The YLEF aims to "bring these two disciplines together in a meaningful way," according to Lehrman.

The stated mission of the YLEF is "to imagine and encourage a legal system that promotes the common good and the dignity of the human person through free enterprise and personal initiative." According to Lehrman, the YLEF believes that the "personal, bottom-up, grass-roots initiative" of both for-profit and public-interest entrepreneurship is an engine driving society. And they aim to foster such creativity. They have already initiated two speaker series--a CEO series and a general counsel series--which bring people from the world of business to the Law School to speak about their experiences.

On Wednesday, April 3, Edward Nicoll '97, the CEO of Datek Online Holdings, will address the YLEF. Lehrman describes Nicoll as the "perfect speaker" for the YLEF, because of his experience as an entrepreneur and head of a dynamically developing company and because of his insight into the law as a YLS graduate.

Nicoll has a long history of personal initiative and unique choices. He co-founded Waterhouse Investor Services, Inc, in 1979, after an earlier career as a sheep farmer and a commodities broker. Serving as president of Waterhouse, he developed it into the nation's second largest discount brokerage firm--then he decided to go to law school. Not only was Nicoll almost two decades older than the average matriculant when he entered YLS, but he hadn't taken a single college course.

In his current position as head of electronic trading firms Datek and The Island, Nicoll is at the center of an industry where innovative firms are putting pressure on the legal and regulatory framework. He will speak about how finance is changing with the advent of new technologies, as well as how business creations can push the law in new directions.

In addition, Nicoll will address more general topics, such as how the Enron scandal has affected regulation in the securities market; what sorts of reform in the financial services industry would increase the public welfare; and which companies and entrepreneurs are leading the financial services industry into the future.

Lehrman believes that Nicoll's talk will be valuable for more than just the perspectives and experiences that he will discuss. With any innovative program or business, Lehrman says, "at some point you have to stop planning . . . and set out on a venture that may fail." Meeting someone who has made that risky leap multiple times, may "provide Yale law students with the confidence to take on the risks of entrepreneurship."