Every small startup business needs the support of experienced professionals. Without a doubt the relationship that your company has with a business lawyer is one that is very important. Before you spend enormous amounts of funds, time and energy it is essential that you make sure that your legal foundation is solid and that your business is protected. Here are a few advices on how, when and where to choose a business attorney.
When do you need an attorney for your startup business? The best answer to this question is now, even if you havent started your business venture yet. If your business needs to go to court and you dont have a lawyer, you might already be a step behind. Approach an attorney as soon as you are committed to starting your business. A good startup attorney can ease the process of starting a business, choose the right kind of legal formation for your business, obtain the necessary licenses and permits, get you through your hiring practice and create some day to day rules for you as a preventative approach. If you plan on seeking funding from venture or angel investors legal aid is essential as your business needs a clear documentation on the expectations from both sides of the deal. If you have partners, a business lawyer can help you define the exact agreement on your equity splits. In this blog we had previously talked about the importance of having well defined exit strategy for both you and your partners as the future might hold some uncertainties even for the best partnerships out there. After all you might be the next Mark Zuckerberg and it wouldnt hurt to have a solid lawyer to back your case from the start.
Go local when selecting your business attorney. From time to time it is OK (and it is free) to seek advice from your college buddy that lives on the opposite coast and is a successful business lawyer. When it comes to your business you will need someone who is reliable and close enough for you to get in touch with when needed. Going local with your law firm choice has a few added benefits. A local business lawyer will help you spread the word about your business, might help you tap into some founding sources, invite you to local networking events and introduce you to other neighboring businesses and valuable resources. Also, by choosing local attorney you preserve the opportunity to know your business attorney socially and to receive that priceless professional business advice as from a friend, off the clock. The better you know your lawyer and the better he/she knows your business, the better advice you will receive.
Choose the right sized law firm. If your startup works with a big law firm you might find yourself struggling for attention, fighting to get your small business problems noticed as they are representing their titan clients. Despite the big firm reputation you may not get their A player but an inexperienced new lawyer and even then your business will not be their personal or professional priority. One thing is for sure, generally speaking big law firm has a bigger overhead and therefore higher hourly rates. On the other hand, going with a law firm that is too small or too specialized can turn out to be the wrong choice as well as you need to assume that your business would be developing and growing and you might need legal help on a wider scale.
Local lawyers focused on startups are easy to find online or through your professional network if you are about to launch a business it would be worth it that you look them up. Remember that your goal is to find a lawyer that will get to know your business well since he/she must not only protect it but also foresee the future threats and provide you with valuable preventive options.