When Do Entrepreneurs Need Legal Counsel?
In partnership with the Blank Center and the Babson Alumni and Friends Network, Pierce Atwood LLP hosted a panel on “When Do Entrepreneurs Need Legal Counsel” on Wednesday January 29h at their office in Boston. The panel discussed Babson entrepreneurs’ experience with legal counsel in growing their ventures. The panel discussion featured:
Mike Salguero M’09, Founder & CEO of CustomMade, 2009 Babson MBA alum
Igor Bratnikov, Co-founder and COO of Wanderu
Mollie Ullman-Cullere, Co-founder of Hughes RiskApps and MBA Candidate at Babson
Zeke Davisson, Moderator and Associate at Pierce Atwood LLP
After the networking session, the moderator started off with a general question of “When do entrepreneurs need lawyers?” From their experience, the entrepreneurs shared their successes and challenges that they have encountered with the listeners. All the entrepreneurs agreed that they should seek legal advice regarding forming the company structure, equities, patents, employees contracts, and more as soon as possible. It is up to the entrepreneurs to know what they want to do with their companies before reaching out to lawyers for legal help. According to Salguero, entrepreneurs should seek business advice from experienced entrepreneurs. In addition, Bratnikov explained that the more entrepreneurs know about what they specifically want to achieve, the more of help lawyers can be to them.
After the entrepreneurs have identified what kind of help they need from lawyers, how do they find good lawyers? According to Ullman-Cullere, the cost of affording a lawyer can range. Many law firms provide an hour free consultation to attract new clients. Salguero advised that when choosing a lawyer; choose the person, not the firm.
As the panel approached its time limit, the entrepreneurs shared their advice for start-ups. The three agreed on the decision of setting up clear company expectations from day one, read all of the documents before signing anything, and choose the people who fit your culture to join your team.
Here were the takeaways from the session:
The more entrepreneurs know what kind of legal help they need, the more they can get out of their consultation with. From the specific legal questions, they can obtain useful knowledge that will help their companies move forward. When signing contracts, remember to read all of the terms and conditions before signing any of them.