What is a startup lawyer?
A new venture requires a lot of work; it sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Successful entrepreneurs often wear many hats and digest new information at a rapid pace. Many entrepreneurs become highly sophisticated about corporate and intellectual property law but, in our experience, none of them have done so without the guidance of a startup lawyer. Although startups’ budget are often modest, investing in building a relationship with a startup lawyer can unlock tremendous value, especially in your company’s infancy. A startup lawyer may also be a resourceful mentor and a powerful ally. Like venture capitalists and angel investors, a startup lawyer has seen it all before and is in the best position to prepare you for what lies ahead the corporate horizon.
To us, a startup lawyer is a lawyer that is proficient in two very important areas:
Building your legal infrastructure, and Protecting your technology
Not many lawyers are skilled in both areas. Often times, corporate lawyers are great at setting up your corporation and negotiating deals but don’t know how patent protection works. Conversely, IP lawyers are adept at protecting your technology (through copyright, patent, and trade secret) but would have a hard time drafting restricted stock agreements, by-laws, and other corporate documents. In short, a startup lawyer adds tremendous value by both safeguarding your key assets and putting your corporate house in order, the two legal dimensions most important to a startup in its early stage. Keep in mind that those are the two areas that matter most to investors too because unprotected intellectual property with unclear ownership status and a disorganised corporation are red flags, if not deal breakers.
Often times, a startup lawyer is an aspiring entrepreneur with a startup mindset. It is the case of ABP Legal, whose focus on transparency, efficiency and stellar services was directly inspired by the startup ethos. Working with a like-minded startup lawyer is everything. This startup mindset enables lawyers to craft the ingenious legal solutions, which empower startups to disrupt their industry.
A startup lawyer also recognises that startups do not have the financial capacity of established companies and offer flat fee packages that provide some much-needed certainty to entrepreneurs. A startup lawyer is a local lawyer, in our case serving the NSW and Australian startup community.
Above all, a startup lawyer is a trusted advisor; somebody the entrepreneur can rely on for problems-resolutions, clarifications and guidance, that lasts well beyond the initial startup phase.