For new companies, having a good startup lawyer is critical. Many legal risks can be mitigated with planning and early advice. Legal counsel can help set up a strong legal framework for a startup while helping to familiarize founders with the lay of the land. Issues can be flagged before they become bigger to ensure that everything is done properly from the beginning. This provides protection for nascent businesses and can create greater long-term efficiency, safety, and success.
A good startup lawyer should have experience working with startups. They should be familiar with the process of incorporation, as well as equity compensation, contracts, term sheet negotiations, licensing, and regulatory matters. It is also important that startup lawyers be familiar with financing and fundraising issues. A strong candidate should also align with the financial capacity of new startups. Often, firms will have special rates for startups, or lawyers themselves will offer discounted hourly rates for their smaller startup clients.
When deciding which startup lawyer or firm to partner with, it is vital to have a number of conversations in order to survey the market for services available to you. In these conversations, inquire about the lawyer’s experience with startups, their firm’s culture, their pricing, and topics which can give you a sense of their personalities and values. As founders will work closely with their startup lawyer, having a good fit on all fronts is essential.
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