What to Look for When Choosing Legal Counsel: A Checklist for Startups
- KO Firm
- April 21, 2021
Startups must move fast but be pragmatic. If you’re running a startup, you know that speed and flexibility are important to your company. The right legal counsel serves as a strategic partner to help emerging companies achieve meaningful business outcomes. The checklist below is meant to help you choose counsel and maximize your use of legal resources.
Find Legal Counsel that Takes a Balanced Approach
Building a strong relationship with the right legal team is about prioritizing solutions and outcomes for your business. Your needs are constantly changing, which means you need a legal team that understands how to be agile and flexible.
Two factors to consider:
1. Does the firm help set strategic priorities? The right partner will help you prioritize what issues you need to tackle today and advise on what matters can be set aside for later. This method enables business operations to be managed in stages through a digestible, scalable approach.
You need a firm that can strategically and proactively handle your legal matters without over-lawyering so you can focus on your business. It’s important to focus on smart growth, in addition to moving fast.
2. Does the firm have a practical and responsive approach? Everyone wants to be efficient, but startups must also be practical. You need a partner that embraces this philosophy.
Finding a firm that is practical, responsive, and efficient can help you maximize operational efficiencies. This agile and flexible approach supports internal resources that need outside legal and business expertise without being overwhelming.
Find Legal Counsel that has Business-Minded Industry Expertise
When considering hiring legal counsel, ask who will be leading your team, who will be doing the work, and what experience and expertise they have.
Two factors to consider:
1. Can the firm get up to speed quickly? You’ll want a legal team who already knows your business so you’re not wasting valuable time and money on getting them up to speed with the nuances of the startup ecosystem. You need senior-level attorneys that have strong industry and domain expertise.
Find legal counsel that quickly plugs into your business to help you scale as needs arise. Look for a firm with business-minded deep industry experts that can proactively advise you on how to approach key issues concerning your company.
2. Is the firm equipped to anticipate needs as your business grows? It’s important that your legal counsel understand your specific needs so you can be prepared to anticipate needs before they arise. A pragmatic legal partner is equipped to recommend strategies to protect your most valuable assets so that you can achieve your growth goals.
Startups must take actions today to address tomorrow’s needs. You need a legal team that can position your company for success.
Find Legal Counsel that Offers Big-Firm Expertise — With a Personalized Approach
Hiring attorneys that work smarter and provide value without unreasonably high legal fees is achievable. Startups should strive to find a firm that offers big-firm expertise with a smaller firm’s personalized and practical approach.
Two factors to consider:
1. Can the firm serve business strategy and ownership rights? The right legal counsel understands the value of protecting the interests of the company, its founders, and its investors. A true legal partner should prioritize issues important to key stakeholders and the business and anticipate risk to the company.
The right legal counsel can serve as a strategic partner to help founders and owners understand the actionable steps necessary to achieve each stakeholder’s short and long-term goals — and how that aligns with the company’s overall mission. Ensuring all stakeholders have a voice at the table is key.
2. Can the firm help you get deals done? This last point to consider seems obvious but is often overlooked when selecting legal counsel — is the firm equipped to anticipate needs and evolve with your business needs, or simply be reactionary when they are asked to execute on a task?
The ability to anticipate risk, capitalize on current and future opportunities, get deals done, and attract the right investors, significantly impacts your startup’s ability to be successful. The right legal partner knows how to help you get deals done to achieve these goals efficiently, to drive outcomes, and help your business scale.
KO Law firm is an innovative corporate and commercial law firm with a team of experienced lawyers and a practical, efficient, business-focused approach. KO’s practical business model was created to better serve clients and provide a superior work environment. Instead of focusing on billable hours, we build strategic partnerships; helping clients to get deals done and realize big ambitions.