What are the most important questions to ask to a prospective startup lawyer?

There are three main points you want to ask a startup lawyer regarding business and funding. These include experience, practice areas, fees, and network/connections.

First, and perhaps the most important point is experience. Ask about what kind of experience they have and what their practice focus on. You want to make sure that they are well versed in the area of expertise that you need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as:

  • What are your primary responsibilities and what falls outside of the scope?
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • What would you rate your skill level with this particular issue?
  • What type of companies do you typically work with?
  • How often do you do work relating to startups and funding?
  • Are you going to be my main point of contact? If so, how long should I expect your response time to be?
  • Are you familiar with all of the incorporation procedures in that particular state?
  • Do you have time to take on a new client?
  • Do you have experience in dealing with employer liability laws if I decide to hire someone?

Next, find out what type of fees are associated with the services that you need. There can never be too many questions associated with the price of their services, so it’s important to know as much as possible up front to avoid any surprises. Common questions should include:

  • Are your rates hourly, contingent, capped, or deferred?
  • Do you offer discounts for multiple hours per month and when should I expect an invoice?
  • What is the preferred method of communication?

Finally, ask about their network/connections.

It’s important to know if they have helped other startups succeed and how well rooted they are in the startup community. Ask questions like:

  • Have you worked with businesses in my industry before?
  • Have you helped startups secure funding?
  • Are you familiar with fundraising events?
  • Do you have connections to investors?

I would also ask their opinion after you’ve explained your situation and what you’re looking for. Come right out and ask if they think they would be a good fit.

Another good rule of thumb is whether your lawyer would be willing to take the time and break down complex legalese to you in plain english. This is almost always a good sign and shows that he/she would most likely go that extra mile to assist you and your business and ultimately gain your trust.

Here’s a helpful post on dealing with lawyers written by Lifehacker (blog) – http://lifehacker.com/how-to-tal…

For more information on finding a startup lawyer, feel free visit us at LawTrades. We know how hard it can be to find the right lawyer, let alone someone who is available and within your budget. Instead of wasting time playing phone tag or driving to a law office, just tell us what you need, and we’ll introduce you to a handful of qualified lawyers. We use software to cut traditional overhead for lawyers which, in turn saves startups thousands in legal fees.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can answer any further questions 🙂