TechCrunch is working on a new project to help you build a better company.
We’re looking for the great service providers in the startup world: the lawyers, accountants, recruiters, human resource managers, project managers and other experts you need to help you succeed. We’re putting together detailed lists of experts based on recommendations from our readers, and our own research, so that you can quickly find the right person to bring on — so you can go back to focusing on your core product.
We’re kicking off this project today by trying to identify the startup lawyers that founders love to work with.
Have you worked with an attorney who, say, helped you clean up a messy business contract, or set up a compelling compensation structure for your team, or saw around a corner on a big legal issue you didn’t know about?
We will keep all of your information anonymous, unless you tell us you want your name attached.
Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing our findings from this first project, and begin looking for more types of great service providers.
Finding a great first startup lawyer
Startup legal requirements have been getting more and more streamlined in recent years, to the point that you don’t even need much legal advice to get pretty far. You can download boilerplate early-stage funding agreements and contracts offered by venture firm Y Combinator, top tech law firm Cooley LLP, or the Series Seed site. And you can find great outside lawyers and get their help quickly via legal startups like Atrium, UpCounsel, or the broader range of legal review sites.
But who exactly should you work with, and why? Right now, there’s not a single source that answers these questions for people going through the tough early stages of company-building. The way I have found lawyers while cofounding companies over the years has been through word-of-mouth recommendations from other entrepreneurs and investors. One of these lawyers was great — he helped us figure out the right compensation structure, handle a tough funding negotiation, and he made the right call on how to determine asset value. He’ll almost certainly make the list.
But not everyone will.
There are thousands of lawyers out there working with tech companies around the world. You won’t need (or want) some of them until you are raising later-stage rounds, dealing with conflicting international laws, getting embroiled in litigation, or working on a big liquidity event. Many attorneys will be too expensive, too focused on one specialization or another, or simply too busy to bother with smaller companies. Meanwhile, there are plenty of great lawyers without much experience in tech… they may not give you the best advice if you’re trying to navigate the norms and patterns of the startup world.
The lawyers who work with startups — and are good at it — are a special breed. Chances are, other people in the startup world know about them even if you haven’t. But that knowledge has never existed all in one place.
Now, help us understand this opaque world by filling out this first survey.
In exchange, we’ll provide you with special access to the results when we have them ready.
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