I’m looking to work with a start-up attorney w/o a retainer. Thanks.
by Russell Greenman at Raines Feldman LLP
An attorney’s willingness to work without a retainer depends on a number of different factors including, but not limited to, the attorney’s relationship with the potential client, the level of sophistication of the potential client, what stage in the star-up evolution the potential client is and, increasingly, the attorney’s confidence in the success of the venture. You have to remember that attorneys are “selling” hours and need some level of confidence that they would not be working for free (or spending additional hours tracking down payments). As you can imagine, it is impossible to evaluate the willingness of any attorney to take any client (established or otherwise).
That being said, the best way is to reach out to an attorney and if he/she is not able to help you the chances are he/she will have a referral to someone who possibly will.
by Naomi Kobubo, Cofounder of Founders Space
If you’re going out to raise venture funding, you may try to find a law firm that will work on deferred payment. Many of the larger law firms in Silicon Valley will take a gamble on startups they believe have a good chance of raising venture funding and defer their legal fees until after funding closes.
I personally have done this with two of my startups and both times we got funded, so the law firm made back its investment.
That said, in order to make this happen, you have to have a very compelling business plan. Essentially what you’re doing is asking the law firm to become your angel investor and take a risk on your company without the upside of equity. This means it’s a high bar to overcome and most startups don’t get the luxury of having deferred payments.
I hope this helps!