What are the minimum legal services I need for my new startup? by @R44D
Answer by Raad Ahmed:
One can think of many areas that are vital to a successful startup business that creates legal risk in the future. These areas range from hiring employees, taxation, choosing a business structure, drafting contracts, intellectual property, handling customer data (particularly for e-commerce businesses), real estate, licensing and in some cases securities transactions. Most businesses will encounter some issues in these areas during either the formation stage or their normal operations. Making sure that a business is on a proper footing about any of these areas is a key to reducing legal risk and ensuring the business has the best opportunity to be profitable. Although it may be tempting to use a business lawyer only after a problem arises the most cost effective strategy often involves being proactive and retaining counsel early on to head off potential problems.
In addition to the risk reducing benefits of employing experienced legal counsel, a startup can also increase its value to potential investors particularly if the business will seek venture capital funding at some point in the future. An attorney who can negotiate funding arrangements and structure the business in a manner that will reduce future SEC regulatory concerns not only reduces risk but signals to investors that the business is starting on stable ground. In short, the minimum array of legal services a startup will require vary by industry, complexity of the venture and by the amount of risk in the market the startup is entering.
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