A start-up company, or “startup company,” is a company that is coming into existence with little to no amounts of operating history in the past. These types of companies generally seek to create new markets or to build upon newly opened channels of commerce. They are typically associated with new inventions and technology, particularly in the computer and internet sectors.
Due to the “newness” of start-up business operations, they can be associated with various risks and concerns. For instance, laws may not always have complete coverage of extremely new products, inventions, medicines, or technology. Also, start-up companies may experience high growth in the beginning but may be subject to limited markets as well.
What Should You Consider When Starting Up a Company?
Although they may start from “scratch,” start-up companies do not come out of nowhere. They require careful planning and much foresight in order for the company to be successful. Part of the challenge and excitement with start-up companies is finding the right “niche” in the market. This requires an understanding of both the business field of choice and the laws that apply.
Some aspects to consider when starting up a company may include:
- Planning and expenditures
- Tax laws
- Startup business regulation– laws may be different in each state, and sometimes even in different areas of town (due to zoning, etc.)
- What type of business form to use (i.e., LLC, partnership, etc.)
- Contract rights and limitations
What Questions Should I Ask Before Hiring a Start-up Attorney?
If you’ve decided that you want to hire a start-up lawyer, here are a few questions you should ask before hiring an attorney to advise you with your business:
- How much experience do you have in this specific area of law? One of the main questions you should ask your lawyer is how much experience they have in their specific area of law or the specific area of law that you’ll need help with. For example, if you need a lawyer to advise you on how to structure your business, a lawyer who has advised hundreds of businesses will be more prepared than someone who is just starting in that area of law.
- How much experience do you have in my industry? Businesses in different industries are subject to different rules and regulations. Healthcare businesses, manufacturing businesses, and child care businesses are all industries with legal requirements that are beyond the norm.
- What are your fees and rates? Do you offer free consultations? Costs of startup lawyers may range anywhere from a $50 fixed fee to over $1,000 per hour for senior partners at a large firm. Costs can be a major obstacle in hiring a startup lawyer, so it’s important to find out how much you will be expected to pay your attorney up front. The size of the firm, the attorney’s experience and seniority, the business industry you’re in, the complexity of your legal situation, and the time it will take to complete the work will all affect your lawyer’s price.
- Some lawyers offer free initial consultations, where you can introduce your business ideas and evaluate whether the lawyer is a good fit for you. Apart from consultation, find out how the attorney will bill you. Some lawyers charge a flat fee for certain types of projects, while others charge a flat hourly rate. If litigation is necessary, some attorneys charge a contingency fee, which means that you only pay if there’s a positive outcome in your case. Before a lawyer starts working on your case, make sure you have a fee agreement in writing.
- Who else would work on my case? Unless you’re working with a lawyer from a solo firm, there’s a good chance that other lawyers in the office will handle parts of your case and learn about your business’s information. These people may include paralegals, associates, and secretaries. If multiple people are involved in your case, it could increase your final bill. Make sure you understand what work your lawyer will do and what work the lawyer will delegate to others.
- What’s the timeline? Find out what timeline your lawyer expects. For example, if you’re completing a joint venture with another company, make sure the lawyer is capable of acting fast to negotiate the joint venture agreement. A lawyer should be able to give you a clear expectation of how long it will take to advance your case.
- How will communication be handled? Make sure the lawyer you’re working with is easily approachable. Inform your lawyer of your preferred method of communication, whether it’s by phone or e-mail. Your lawyer should also have an awareness of your day-to-day responsibilities. Most legal correspondence today is online, so you should ensure that you have a good internet connection for signing and reviewing documents.
- Do you have any conflicts of interest with my business? Before hiring an attorney, make sure that they haven’t represented any of your competitors, ex-employees, or former business partners, all of whom could create a conflict of interest. If this is the case, don’t share confidential information with the attorney if it could cause a conflict of interest.
What If I Have a Legal Issue with a Start-Up Company?
Generally speaking, it may be difficult to legally engage a start-up company before they become officially recognized under state business laws. This means that liability for any violations by an organization may change once they file for incorporation within the state. This is especially true for business forms such as limited liability companies.
If you have a legal issue with a start-up company, you may need to obtain legal advice for your concerns. Be sure to compile any documents or evidence in support of your claim, which can be used in future proceedings.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Start-Up Companies?
A startup lawyer is an essential partner for new businesses. A good lawyer can make sure you’re in compliance with all legal, business, and industry requirements. By hiring a lawyer, you prevent legal problems that could damage your business in the future. Start-up companies are associated with very specific legal requirements and issues.
If you need any assistance at all with a startup company, you may wish to hire a qualified business lawyer in your area. Your attorney can advise you on planning and reviewing for your business’ success. Also, if you have any legal disputes or conflicts, your attorney can help you file a lawsuit for damages.
A good lawyer will serve as a close advisor as you’re trying to grow your business. A startup lawyer can help you:
- Decide how to structure your business
- Create employee agreements
- Raise venture capital and seed funding
- Negotiate partnership agreements
- Negotiate joint ventures
- Apply for trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property pursuits
- Secure commercial space for your business
- Navigate tax laws and understand the tax consequences of certain decisions
- Help you obtain a business license, incorporate a business, or obtain a business form.
- File legal forms
LegalMatch’s extensive database of business lawyers can help you narrow down your search for an attorney in your state, city, or local area. There is never a fee for a consultation, and LegalMatch’s services are always 100% confidential.