If you’ve recently taken a job as a company’s first lawyer, chances are there is some legal cleanup to do. Maybe more than some. Here’s a quick and dirty checklist of some things you should accomplish at the outset.
A major area of exposure for any growing company is human resources. If your company is hiring like crazy, it will make mistakes and hire bad apples even if it has an HR representative.
- Make sure your offer letters are clear about the nature of the employment (e.g. at will), base comp, bonus, equity, and signing bonus,
- Obtain consent for any background checks you run,
- Get the Fair Labor Standard Act (and state equivalent) categorization correct at the outset, and
- Ensure you have each employee sign a confidentiality and IP agreement.
4. Licensing & Registration
Where are you doing business? Does your company require a license to operate there, and are you registered with the state’s secretary of state? And finally, who’s on top of the fees you need to pay to renew licenses and remain in good standing?
5. Vendor Management
As you grow, your business development teams will be firing off NDAs, vendor agreements, and other commercial contracts faster than you can keep up. Do you have good templates, and are you collecting final signatures? Once that’s done, where are you storing and tracking the documents and important obligations from each (e.g. counterparties, dates, non-solicits)?
Of course, there are numerous other items that should be on your short list, such as intellectual property, trade secret protection and Cap table management. But these top five are essential for any growing business, so make sure you’ve at least considered each.