Do you know of any law firms who will assist an entrepreneur without charging an arm & a leg?

QUESTION:

I’ve read all the material on forming my startup, from going with an LLC to going with a Delaware C-Corp.

The reality is, I still need help from a professional lawyer to make sure all my paperwork is in order, my structure is the correct one, and so on. I’ve read about different incubators that assist startups in legal aspects so they can focus on product.

However, I haven’t come across any law firms who have special discounts or deferred payment for startups. Do you know of any law firms who will assist an entrepreneur like me with company formation without charging an arm and a leg?  Thanks!

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo Cofounder of Founders Space

There are actually lots of law firms in Silicon Valley that work on deferred payment if they really believe in what you’re doing.  The bottom line is that they have to REALLY believe in your company and vision to take the risk.

I personally have had a great experience with Allison Tilley at Pillsbury.  She did a lot of work on deferred payment for two of my previous startups.

http://www.pillsburylaw.com

At another startup, my partner worked with Dave Young at DLA Piper and had a very good experience.

http://www.dlapiper.com/

And Orrick is another large firm that has been really good at working with startups.  They have a great website with lots of free information on forming your startup.  The guy to contact at Orrick is Chad Lynch.  He’s fantastic!

http://www.orrick.com/

Another great firm is Bullivant Houser Bailey PC.  Eric Ferraro is experimenting with new models to help startups with limited funds.

http://www.bullivant.com/

As for individual lawyers, we really like Antone Johnson.  He’s been very active on Founders Space and works with a lot of startups, providing good service at a reasonable rate.

http://bottomlinelawgroup.com/profile/

There’s also Soody Tronson, another Founders Space favorite — especially when it comes to intellectual property.

http://stronson.com/

We can’t mention every law firm in this short post, but this should give you a good start!   If you look around, you’ll find lots of good law firms that are willing to give discounts or deferred payment to promising startups.

I hope this helps.

Comments & Advice:
  1. Michael Litt says:

    We've had great luck with La Barge Weinstein (in Canada). All fees were deferred until cash was available.

  2. Ralph says:

    There has always been this mystique that the large law firms add some clout. I have never found that to be true. I always work with the guys who are at most 4 to a firm and were entrepreneurs once themselves. They understand my issues much better.
    I use Tom Cervantez at (415) 632-1331. Has the advantage that he runs the Harvard Angels group also.

  3. Tim says:

    I’ve created fizzlaw.com, a directory of cost-effective attorneys experienced serving entrepreneurs. You can send out a request to the network asking for alternative billing arrangements or even provide a budget.

  4. You may also wish to consider a relationship with White & Lee LLP in Redwood City. Small firm with outstanding people & resources. David Lee is a true professional and has always been available when we’ve needed assistance and/or direction about our startup business.

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