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3 Things A Start-up Must Keep In Mind While Hiring Lawyers

First thing, let’s kill all the lawyers”

Dick the butcher said those lines in Shakespeare’s Henry IV. As the story goes, Dick was a gang member planning to dethrone the King of England, but his only fear was that the lawyers of the country are going to jinx his masterplan.

But the point is,

Haven’t we all at some point or other felt the same about our lawyers? ( It’s okay, we won’t tell your lawyer you said that *winks*)

A lot of startup owners claim that they are aghast at the legal bureaucracy at their new parent foundation. The lawyers were not proficient enough at delivering speedy, practical solutions, and the founder was forced to spend far too much time micromanaging or working around them.

What we are telling you is not some new or some unique story. Over the past few years, various well-funded startups have sought a get-big-fast technique to maximize early-mover advantages. But due to the rush in hiring throughout the organization, a company can easily end up with lawyers who, by nature or training, are ill-suited to its particular business climate.

We are not questioning Lawers legal battling skills here. But start-ups must be flexible, efficient, creative, and ready to fail fast. If a firm’s attorneys lack reasonable instincts for the startup environment and unnecessarily block business initiatives, they can become critical choking hazards to the business’s operations. And this, in turn, can prove ruinous. So rather than hiring lawyers who fixate on deterring potential losses, a startup company requires attorneys who can assist the business in exploiting opportunities and feat victories.

Here are a few tips and tricks we have for the attorneys to help them:

  1. How to mitigate, not eliminate, risk. 

We all know that attorneys need to manage the company’s legal and reputational risk, but that does not mean they have t eliminate each and everything that appears to be a potential risk. That can be counterproductive.

In a startup, an expensive solution may be a poor option compared with an inexpensive and potentially compliant solution. To properly assess the alternatives, attorneys need to be able to scrape the numbers and apply mathematical reasoning to acquaint their judgment. This means evaluating (a) the upfront expense (monetary or otherwise) of each possibility, (b) the likelihood that any solution could be questioned and judged legally inadequate under the applicable legal authority (contract, regulation, guideline, etc.), and (c) the remedial cost if the firm must modify its initial course of action.

Although attorneys don’t need to propose the lowest net-present-cost alternative in every litigation, they should be willing to advocate for the best business result — which Iften is not the traditional approach to a legal solution.

  1. The explanation is the key.

Now think of a housing attorney who is best at what he does but is unable to explain the proceedings to his colleagues. This makes the entire process quite futile, right?

 The in-house attorney’s job is to inform and nurture his or her colleagues about legal risk, in plain language, and put them in a better position to evaluate that risk against operational provisions and alternatives.

Using conclusory proclamations to close off discussions about alternatives other than the most prudent course of action may exempt the lawyer from decision-making accountability — but it does so at the cost of the business’s needs. Again the whole process becomes futile.Rather, the startup attorney has got to formulate and deliver actionable data that sparks meaningful dialogue.

  1. The will to pitch EVERYWHERE.

Most lawyers will have difficulty furnishing strategic advice if they can’t thoughtfully contribute to discussions of business issues. And if attorneys are foreign with the operational details and view their role as simply responding to legal questions raised at various extents by others, they’ll become more deserted from the business over time because colleagues will be less likely to incorporate them in business discussions.

To be successful, startup lawyers need to actively immerse with the business and take wholehearted possession of the company’s business goals.

Lawyers often play a crucial role in the growth of a new businesses. But, unlike many other professionals, lawyers are perennially entrusted with a unique privilege to block action, which can be a big crisis for a quick-moving startup. So, when scaling up, startup leaders need to assure that their in-house attorneys are culturally aligned with the business

So maybe the Butcher, in Henry IV did have a point? Even though his solution was a tad bit too dramatic and over the top.

But the truth this revolution require a sense of profound commitment. 

And we all know start-ups are just about revolutions!

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