Start-up Lawyers – 4 Shocking Benefits of Having One
If you’re a start-up founder or leader, you’re likely to have a few noticeable qualities. You are probably fiercely driven, intensely creative, and very optimistic. After all, you have to be optimistic to attempt an endeavour which fails 9 out of 10 times. Optimism is a very valuable resource in business, but it has one downside. It can lead a person to not prepare properly for when things go wrong. That’s what specialist start-up lawyers are for, not just to help a start-up cope when it hits a pothole, but to help steer it around those potholes in the first place. Here are just 4 of the surprising ways a start-up lawyer can support you.
1. They can be the difference between start-up success and failure
An expert start-up lawyer on board from day one can provide you with essential advice on a broad range of fronts, from intellectual property to employment contracts to commercial agreements. Failing to attend to these properly can cause untold damage and heartache later. In a major study, 1 in 20 failed start-up founders said that the reason their businesses crashed and burnt was down to legal challenges. That’s ahead of hiring mistakes, poor marketing or burnout!
Conversely, an experienced and savvy start-up lawyer will work by your side to secure milestone commercial opportunities and make sure you get the fairest deal possible from them, plus a lot of coverage for if they go wrong. A wise lawyer will also keep you legally up to date: many start-ups operate in circumstances where the law frontiers are shifting all the time. A good adviser will make sure you aren’t caught out.
2. They aren’t just there for the start
You might think from the job title that a start-up lawyer is only there for your enterprise’s earliest days, but a wisely chosen lawyer may be with you for decades to come. Having a start-up lawyer by your side to guide you through your business decisions is essential if you want to be legally protected and to avoid any impending mistakes. Famously, Amazon’s very first litigation lawyer, David Zapolsky, is still advising them as their general counsel 21 years and many, many billions of dollars down the line, having developed and grown with the business as it transformed itself from David into Goliath.
In fact, there are huge benefits in finding a start-up lawyer with the right skills and mindset to immerse themselves in your business from the conception stage right through to the day you really hit your stride or even sell up for billions. Working with the same advisers from the start can save you a lot of time and money, while the trust that is developed over time is priceless.
3. A start-up laywer can protect you from yourself
Start-up founders can be their organisation’s biggest assets but also – we hate to say it, but it’s true – their biggest liabilities. You don’t have to be a spectacular flame-out like Adam Neumann for that to be the case. Your flaw could be as simple as being too trusting with a partner or being so single-minded about ‘growth’ that you forget some of the legal details. A good start-up lawyer will step in to address any such weaknesses, making sure those partners are legally responsible and all your paperwork is watertight.
Even if you don’t have any of the above flaws, very few start-up founders or leaders come from a legal background, and some don’t even have a particularly long track history in the business world. It’s easy to overlook the details when you’re first starting and difficult to see potential problems without an expert’s keen eye for the legal details. That’s where a start-up lawyer steps in.
4. They can spot dangerous territories ahead of time
Failing to invest in an experienced start-up lawyer can be a big mistake with many forthcoming consequences. After all, a good legal adviser will help you understand such crucial matters such as tax law and employment law. As any businessman who has ever ended up in an employment tribunal or a tax audit can tell you, neglecting these details can be like taking all your funding out of your bank account and setting it on fire.
Indeed, Forbes lists not having the right legal counsel as one of the ten biggest mistakes a start-up founder can make. Working with a savvy and smart start-up lawyer will not only help you avoid stressful and financially draining legal challenges down the track, but it will also free you up to focus on the development of the business. That’s that rare thing in business, a win-win.