Forming a legal entity (part 2): Finding a lawyer

The first step I took in founding a startup was to find a lawyer. There’s a ton of very picky specific legal decisions to make, and I knew that I wasn’t remotely qualified to do it on my own. In fact, I didn’t even know where to start.

I began my search with a few recommendations from friends who are in startups, but, ultimately, I found someone through my accountant. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about law (nor, really, about startups) to judge professional competence, but there were a few other things I looked for:

  • they’ve worked with founding tech. startups before
  • they were interested in my particular business
  • I felt there was a good personality fit
  • the rates weren’t too outrageous ($300 to $500 / hour)

After talking with a few different options on the phone, I wound up going with Doty, Barlow, Britt & Thieman and have been very happy with them.

One extra lesson I learned the hard way… lawyers bill for absolutely everything (all of them: not just mine). Every minute on the phone, every email answered, every letter they have to respond to will cost you. I’ve had to become very conscious about dropping the polite small talk on the phone, and keeping the email questions down to those I absolutely need an answer to. Every time before I call, I remind myself: it costs you $1 to say “Hello, how are you?”

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