Getting a startup going is not the easiest thing in the world, that’s for sure. There are many hurdles that they have to leap, and they certainly are pretty tough to overcome. Many startups do not last terribly long for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons for this is inexperience, though other factors play into it quite a bit as well. A huge boon to any startup, however, is to have a startup lawyer representing their interests. But the question is, just what does a startup lawyer do for your company? And when, if ever, will you need to rely on one for your startup to be a success in the end?
What Does a Startup Lawyer Bring to the Table?
While there will obviously be a cost associated with hiring a startup lawyer to represent your new business, it is a cost worth paying. Some of the biggest hurdles that you will face will honestly have to do with compliance. A fair few people who create their own startups have no experience running a company before this, and as such, they have no experience having to comply with laws and regulations to do with their respective industries. If you fail to comply with certain laws and regulations, this could see your business going down for no other reason than that. In the grand scheme of things, hiring a lawyer to represent your startup will be much cheaper than the fines and potential closure of your startup. Startup attorneys are a subcategory of business attorneys, and the distinction is key. Business attorneys have varying levels of experiencing assisting startup businesses, but you will inevitably find some business attorneys whose experience in this field is primarily or exclusively with more established companies. So when you are looking into one, make sure that you do not just assume that a business lawyer who works with big companies is necessarily going to be a good choice for your smaller one. It’s kind of like trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
However, the process is not as simple as merely throwing money at someone and asking them to represent you. Before you even hire one, you must go through an arduous research process so that you can figure out which startup lawyer is the right fit for you. Not every startup lawyer is going to jive well with you, and you certainly do not want to find out that they do not only after you have hired them. So before you settle down with a startup lawyer, make sure to chat them up and figure out what they are all about. Ask them about their experience, such that you can glean how well they would do at guiding your startup to success. You should also look into their history, to see how successful they even are. As it were, some startup lawyers are just not going to be very good at their jobs, and their record will reflect that. Talking with a startup lawyer can even give you a good idea of their personality. Even with good experience, knowledge, and success stories under their belt, you still have to contend with the fact that their personality may not be to your liking. Not every personality is compatible, so be mindful of that as well.
You should also make sure that the startup lawyer has at the very least, some kind of history in your specific industry. A startup lawyer is not going to be one size fits all. Some industries are inevitably going to have different laws and regulations that businesses that work within them have to follow. In theory, you could have a startup lawyer who is just a jack of all trades, but they are not very likely to be a master of all. Better to focus your search on someone who specializes in your industry, just to guarantee that mastery. You also need to be careful that you do not take for granted that the startup lawyer is as good as they say. Typically, people will fib, just a bit. Stretch the truth. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should distrust startup lawyers as much as it means that you should trust but verify. Looking into the claims made by a potential startup lawyer doesn’t signify distrust, it’s just good business sense.
All too often, people think that a lawyer is only worth getting when they actually get into legal trouble. This is a very bad idea and one that will ultimately cost you a lot of time and money as a result and may even result in you performing worse in your legal dispute than if you had a lawyer from the very beginning. By having a startup lawyer well before any legal action could even theoretically take place, you can not only build up a rapport with that lawyer, but it also allows them to get a feel of working with your company. Of course, this does not even take into account the fact that, by having a startup lawyer from the beginning, the risk of having to face legal action is that much lower as a result.
A good way to pick out a startup lawyer is to consider the lawyers you have worked within the past. This is not guaranteed to produce fruitful results, but such a lawyer may be well suited for helping your startup be successful and be protected from running afoul of law and regulations. If this lawyer does not have the expertise themselves, that does not mean that they cannot provide anything of value to your search for a startup lawyer. Rather, they may be able to help you find a startup lawyer through a referral, assuming that they know one themselves. And heck, even if they themselves are not familiar with one, they may know someone who is. The more information you give this lawyer, the more likely they are to help you find a lawyer who fits your needs best. Of course, a lawyer you have worked with in the past is not the only person who could potentially help guide you to a good startup lawyer. Other businesses, both large and small, have business owners who you can consult to receive referrals as well. With this, you can find lawyers that they have worked within the past whom they have had a good experience.
Networking is another great way to find a startup lawyer; you can go to business events and conferences to try to mingle with people and, hopefully, make valuable business connections. This has the additional effect that you may find other business owners who can help give you advice on how to properly build your startup company. When you do meet up with startup lawyers at these kinds of events, it is important that you not ask for legal advice, as they simply will not provide such a thing if you do not schedule an appointment for a consultation beforehand.While you must attend these kinds of conferences, it may not always be practical, so you should consider looking at online directories as well. In looking through such directories, you can find a startup lawyer who has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs in helping them turn their fledgling businesses into well-known success stories. You can search for lawyers based on geographical location as well, which would do a world of good for your business. Not only does it mean that you can more easily consult with them in person, but they are also that much more likely to be familiar with the area and able to act accordingly.