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Can a lawyer draw up legal documents (operating agreements, terms of use, etc.) for a company based in a state for which the lawyer is not licensed?

I agree with Ethan Stone – that it generally doesn’t matter what state an attorney is licensed in as long as that attorney feels comfortable and is capable enough to complete the work. Generally, the UPL is seen as confusing and antiquated so I disagree that such laws provide a clear answer.

In my opinion, your first point of reference for looking for an attorney should be experience. But this begs the question – experience in your state or experience in this area of law (contracts and business formation)? You want a lawyer who specializes does this type of stuff on a daily basis; a startup attorney would be the appropriate type of attorney to look for. A lot of the agreements you mention in your question are similar across many states. Although there are differences, as prior posters have alluded to, lawyers are expected to look up these differences before completing the work. Better yet, a lawyer isn’t supposed to take on the work if they aren’t willing to put in the requisite time to learn the particular subject matter / jurisdiction. It might be a good idea for you to seek a few free consultations with attorneys. Simply tell them what you are looking for and let the lawyer talk to you about their experience and how they can assist you. Within minutes you should get a sense of the attorney’s comfort level, as well as your comfort with him/her.

If you’re looking for a fast and affordable way to have your documents drafted by vetted attorneys who have experience in your state then I invite you to check out LawTrades. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we know what it feels like to grind. To reflect this, we offer unique pricing options that will fit your bootstrapping needs. We also offer free 20-minute consultations if you want to “feel out” a few of our attorneys beforehand!