Startups are known for rising quickly – it usually begins as a side project amongst acquaintances or friends (although this isn’t a rule) and ends up growing and becoming a legacy. At the very beginning, hiring legal help might seem redundant and a bit too much, which is exactly why so many have failed before even getting a chance to truly blossom into something wonderful. Here are 5 reasons why a tech startup shouldn’t put off hiring a lawyer.
1. Building a Strong Working Relationship
A large company will go through a ton of potential legal issues on a weekly basis. This is normal, which is why all the big names have a team of lawyers behind them. As a startup, emergencies might and might not occur, but when they do, you will have little wiggle room to get them sorted out. Not consulting a lawyer means that you’ll have to take on serious risks which you may or may not be familiar with (let’s face it, the latter is most likely the case). There is no reason for this, which is why you need to establish a strong working relationship with your lawyer, for the sake of both of you. If you don’t do this, you will have to start from square one every time a legal issue occurs.
2. Being Sued Means that You’re too Late
Some businesses, especially startups, tend to put off hiring a lawyer until they get served with a summons. This isn’t that big of a deal, right? Well, no, because it might already be too late – if you are served with a summons and complaint, the problem is already there, you will almost doubtlessly have to pay, and almost certainly waste valuable time to get things settled. Think of having legal help as your first line of defense – you may not be a fan of the fact that you have to pay and deal with a lawyer, but this will keep you out of trouble, which means that it’s definitely worth it!
3. Lawyers as an Early Warning System
Anticipating potential legal issues is just as important as having someone by your side to fight them. As a business owner, you can rest assured that you won’t be able to predict all of them, while an experienced business attorney can go a long way in helping you here. By having a lawyer on retainer before potential issues arise, you are making sure that they are introduced with your business and that they can help you avoid mistakes! For example, as a tech startup, you are likely to be one in the sea of small businesses in bloom, so you’ll need a lawyer as soon as possible, in order to avoid copyright issues before they occur.
4. Dealing with Legalese
The world of business is crawling with legal terms and items – contracts, laws, regulations; you name it. Unless you have a law degree, you will have trouble with the confusing legal terminology. If you happen to misunderstand a law or regulation, this will lead to an investigation, which will bleed you dry. This is why you should always have legal help available at hand. For example, the experts at Bayard Lawyers specialize in technology, intellectual property and commercial law, and are available to give you advice via the Internet or phone.
5. How Experienced should a Lawyer Be?
Having an attorney with 20+ years of experience at your disposal is perfect, but you may not be able to afford them. A small business’s first lawyer should have four to 10 years of experience in corporate practice, especially when it comes to tech startups, seeing as how the younger generations can develop a better understanding of the techie world. Regardless of how convenient it may seem, never hire a lawyer based on you knowing them personally (friends, family); base your choice on their reputation and professionalism.
No one likes to deal with lawyers and legalities, but you’ll be better off timely getting good legal representation, than having to take on issues as they come. Experience and professionalism are the name of the game when choosing an attorney!