Who are the best Bay Area lawyers for early-stage startup incorporation? Specifically, lawyers either relatively cheap or willing to defer costs.

When you start a company, you want to be surround yourself really smart advisors. So getting the right startup-friendly lawyer on your side from the beginning is a no brainer.

You might not be totally thrilled about this answer but… not all lawyers are created equal and you should really trust your instincts in picking one.

Old-age wisdom may tell you to get input from friends and family, but hiring your cousin who practices entertainment law to do your Delaware C Corp incorporation might not be so smart. By the same token, while expertise and years of experience are important, if you don’t feel comfortable with the person, or can’t envision yourself having confidential conversations with him/her, then you should probably pass. More of that here: How to Talk to a Lawyer (and When You Need One).

While I can’t direct you to any specific batch of lawyers without learning more about yourself and your business, here are 3 points, IMO, can be considered attributes to finding the best lawyer out there for your company:

#1: Keep in mind that you hire a person, not a firm. You may retain the most known law firm in the country but every firm out there has some amazing lawyers, good ones, and some that are neither!

#2: Understand your lawyers fee structure. While hourly rates prevail as the most common way lawyers bill, there are some alternatives out there that you can inquire about. Things like fixed, capped, deferred and contingent are sometimes offered to early stage companies. A great startup lawyers should take time understanding your business inside out, and manage your risks always from a cost-benefit perspective to truly help your business grow.

#3: Find the well connected ones. It’s always nice to meet lawyers who are already well rooted in the Bay Area tech community! They may share the same startup passion you have and provide you with warm introductions to the right investors.

The more you prepare before talking with a lawyer, the better your experience will be.

So here’s some solid legal resources to get you started:

Bonus time

Time is money. With LawTrades, we’ve pre-vetted some of the best startup lawyers in the Bay Area and made them accessible to folks like yourself so you don’t have to waste time searching. Check it out when you’re ready.

Hope you find this useful! Shoot me a message if I didn’t cover anything.