Since I started practicing law I have been very interested in the start-up ecosystem and specially on how the legal practice can help companies grow their business.
I am trying to fulfill the first of my interests by becoming involved in companies that will later invest on other companies (Sitka Capital) or create its own (Akola Venture Builder).
Since I am working at an international organization now, advising to early stage companies is more difficult. However, there is one issue that I have encountered in different occasions: the reluctance of entrepreneurs to engage a business attorney.
On this, I have recently read a very interested and detailed post from Shashank Tiwari, founder of www.lawyered.in, a legal market-place in India, which lists most of the advantages that an entrepreneur can have by engaging a lawyer in early stages:
1. Organization of the company
Different jurisdictions have different kind of entities which imply different risks for the entrepreneur. It is fundamental that all entrepreneurs contact a lawyer to ensure that he/she is incorporating the company in the most adequate way for the intended business.
Contracts are the day-to-day life on a start-up. From space rentals and labor contracts for the operation of the company to sales agreement for selling your product. All this requires a full legal review to ensure that all the t's are crossed and all the i's are dotted.
Standard contracts can be useful and cheap, but a review by your attorney ensures that it will suit your needs.
3. Intellectual Property
Everyday entrepreneurs are changing the world with their disruptive creations and ways to see things. In the fast-advancement and technological world we are living in, invention protection is key to the success of the company and a product. A patent lawyer is key to ensuring that the entrepreneur's creations remain his and that the company can monetize that creation.
4. Tax and regulations
Creating a tax structure that helps the company to be tax efficient is specially helpful once the company has started its activity and starts making money. Additionally, some activities may be subject to the supervision of an administrative entity and the request of license may be necessary. A tax and regulatory lawyer will allow you to avoid extra costs in terms of taxes or penalties.
5. Fund rising
Probably the most important for an entrepreneur these days. Early counseling by a lawyer on how to structure the fund raising, on the timing of the different agreements is key to the protection of the decision making and economic rights of the entrepreneur once the investor have joined the company.
I hope you have realized that you need a lawyer in your life. On a future post I will state my opinion on what is the best way to contact a lawyer.
Feel free to get in touch with me for any queries or comments!