Making The Most of Start-up Law Services: What start-up entrepreneurs must look for 

In the real estate business, there’s a common mantra which goes: Location, location, location! While those three words may sound like a broken record, they underline where and what to look for when buying property. In the legal domain, there’s a similar saying that highlights the types of startup lawyers budding entrepreneurs must choose to work with:  Fit, fit…fit!

Why Look for a Perfect Fit?

Hiring a law firm to represent you can be overwhelming, especially for startup businesses who have never gone through the process of starting a venture before. But choosing a law firm that doesn’t fit well with your enterprise, to represent your organization, is like buying property without considering what you wish to own, or where!

Unlike the choices you make when selecting a realtor, to buy your head office building or warehouse, the pick of a lawyer is more “involved”. It’s never a transactional relationship like the purchase of a building – one, and done!  Instead, the law firm you choose typically travels with you, jogging, running, sprinting and walking with you throughout your journey as a startup. For many venture operators, that relationship often lasts much longer – often extending to the startup going public…and even beyond.

Given this potentially long-lasting relationship that most fledgling companies tend to have with their start up lawyer, “fretting” over a good fit makes perfect sense. Afterall, if you go shopping for a pair of runners that’ll see you through a long and challenging marathon run, wouldn’t you want them to fit perfectly?

Aspects of Fit

So, what exactly does “fit” entail? Well, here are the most important aspects of “good fit” that start-up entrepreneurs, looking for legal assistance, must consider:

  • Domain Fit: Whether you are planning to launch a new company in the Cannabis sector, a startup FinTech, a new Blockchain venture, or looking to enter the world of Cryptocurrencies, it’s important to work with startup lawyers who specialize in your domain.
  • Experience Fit: New start-up ventures require a broad spectrum of legal support. From defining Terms of Service (ToS) agreements and Privacy Policies, to Leasing and Licensing documents, JV agreements, Intellectual Property law, Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs); and from Immigration law to litigation support. When choosing a legal services partner, it’s vital that they have experience in these and other practice areas.
  • Depth of Fit: While some law firms may have a single, or perhaps a couple of, individual lawyers with experience fits matching your needs, there’s always a risk that, when you need them most, they’ll be supporting other clients and might be unavailable to address your time-sensitive needs. The best fit comes from choosing a legal firm with a broad and deep bench of experience and expertise able to address all your legal requirements.

Beyond “Fit for Purpose”

One aspect of “fit” that’s often overlooked, when looking for a start up lawyer, is their intellectual and values compatibility with entrepreneurs and their teams. Regardless of how experienced a law firm might be, and irrespective of the depth and breadth of expertise they bring to the table; its important to talk with senior members of the firm and establish a good rapport with them. And, if you don’t get that confident and “warm and fuzzy” feeling through your interactions, then that firm is likely not a good fit.