Chicago Startup Attorneys & Lawyers
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Legal Tips and Information
Finding a Startup Attorney in Chicago
When new businesses search for the best startup attorney for their situation, the sheer number of results, referrals, and suggestions can seem overwhelming. Finding the right startup lawyer in Chicago to usher a brand-new company through their formative years is vital to the health and long-term success of the startup.
Why Successful Startups Need a Startup Lawyer in Chicago
Startups need lawyers to help them in three major areas as their business grows and changes:
Relationships with each other
Establishing the responsibilities of each founder at the very beginning of the company’s life is a common-sense move that startup lawyers understand completely. The roles and duties of founders who start a company together will likely change over time, and a startup attorney will help create guidelines that minimize confusion and conflict.
Relationships with the public
Controlling risk when dealing with employees, product users, suppliers, customers, and vendors is a vital part of maintaining the momentum a startup needs to succeed. A startup attorney understands the risks and rewards of each relationship and can advise the founders about how they should conduct themselves to manage the risks and maximize the potential rewards.
Relationships with the government
Startup founders rely on experienced team members to guide them through tax issues, filing patents, and staying on the right side of the law. A Chicago startup lawyer can help to make sure that the startup isn’t experiencing unnecessary tax liability, is properly protecting intellectual property, and is filing patents correctly.
Things to Consider When Evaluating a Chicago Startup Attorney
It’s important to make sure that the lawyer has a similar tolerance for risk as the founders of the company. Understanding the business, how and why it was formed, and respecting the goals of the owners is a number one priority when choosing a Chicago startup lawyer.
In a world where a lot of business is conducted virtually, it may be tempting to launch into a worldwide search for the best startup attorney. It’s much easier to set clear operating guidelines, align objectives, and keep the attorney in the loop when important events occur if the lawyer is local. Choosing a startup attorney in Chicago helps startups in the area make the most of the legal counsel they need, no matter the situation.
Startup budgets for legal help are as diverse as the startups themselves. Prices vary from one firm to the next. It’s often less expensive to hire an attorney on a per-job or as-needed basis. Finding one that works well with the founders cuts down on the total amount of time required to solve legal problems as they arise and handle the day-to-day legal needs of a startup.
Many lawyers bill in increments of .1 hours, or six minutes. Some bill in quarter hour increments. Startups pay $150 per hour for legal consultation on the low end. On the high end, $1,000 per hour is a common rate for large and powerful law firms if the services of a senior partner are required or requested.
Startups that want to incorporate their new business should expect to spend over $2,000 for quality legal assistance from the best startup attorneys. This cost is dependent not only on the rate the lawyer charges, but the intricacies of the business and the specific services the founders request.
Early in the development of the startup, establishing a business entity should be a high priority. Protecting intellectual property is another important matter best handled by a startup lawyer in Chicago.
Background and experience
While many simple forms are available online if the founders of the startup know exactly what they need, it isn’t possible to find free legal advice that caters to the specific situations of the startup itself online. Having access to an experienced and trusted advisor is crucial to the growth of the company.
The best startup attorneys have extensive knowledge about copyright creation, patent law, intellectual property rights and new business formation. Search for a lawyer that has similar clients to the startup in question and who can speak intelligently about the market, the product or service, and who have helped other local startups with their strategic growth plans.
Chicago Startup Lawyer Areas of Expertise
The unique challenges that entrepreneurs face require the expertise of the best startup attorneys in Chicago. Here are just a few of the things area lawyers who specialize in assisting new businesses handle for their clients:
- IP strategy
- Patent creation and filing
- Patent infringement
- Tax law
- Intellectual property rights
- Transactional business
- Contract dispute resolution
- Lender liability
- Warranty breach
- Insurance strategy
- Commercial real estate transactions
- New business formation
- Strategic startup growth
- Privacy based litigation
- Employment contracts
- Technology compliance challenges
- Domain name disputes
- Commercial litigation
- Regulatory compliance
- Risk management
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Financial fraud
- Commercial contracts
- Trade secrets
- Software licensing and software-as-a-service terms
- DMCA compliance, privacy policies, and online terms of service
- Loan and asset transactions
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Commercial contract drafting and negotiation
Chicago Business and Startup Scene
During the past four years, Chicago has created over 40,000 tech jobs. With a growing number of software as services and marketplace businesses, this up-and-coming Midwestern city is a hub of startup activity.
Fortune 500 Businesses
Known for its easygoing approachability, the Windy City is home to Boeing and United Airlines. The transportation sector is growing with startups like SpotHero taking root. The mobility sector is thriving as small new companies focus on growing into a position where they can be bought. Larger companies seek startups for purchase in Chicago because of their amazing rate of success.
Resources and Support for Chicago Startup Companies
Industry diversity is alive in Chicago, which creates an environment where it’s easy to get exposure as a small company. Built In Chicago is an online community dedicated to making sure startups have access to the resources they need to achieve their goals. Successful startup founders often launch secondary ventures as a result of their fast growth and Built In Chicago is often behind the scenes helping to make founders’ dreams come true.
The city itself is encouraging to entrepreneurs with programs like the Chicago College Start UP competition. Ten winners enjoy benefits like free office space and free mentorship programs to help them get off to a solid start. ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza is a competition that encourages and attracts tech talent by inviting 125 computer science and tech students from all over the country to learn about Chicago’s startup ecosystem.
Aggressive venture firms like New World Ventures, OCA Ventures, i2a Fund, and MK Capital are initiating earlier stage deals, creating a robust ecosystem in which Chicago startups thrive.
Costal startups are relocating their businesses to this Midwestern city to take advantage of a lower cost of living and the vast resources offered to emerging businesses. Future Simple, StyleSeek, Vlinks Communications, Trunk Club, and Big Machines all call Chicago home.
Universities and Colleges in Chicago
Three of the best colleges for entrepreneurs in the United States are located in Chicago according to Princeton Review. Of the top 25 programs for entrepreneurship, DePaul Kellstadt is number 15, Northwestern Kellogg is number five, and University of Chicago Both is number three. Schools are judged on mentorship programs, successful startup launches, percentage of alumni, students, and faculty that have created companies of their own, support for business plan competitions, and financial aid programs.
According to Pitchbook, both UChicago and Northwestern have been recognized as top schools for creating venture-backed startups. Both of these schools were also recognized as top innovative universities for research and patents by Reuters.
US News recently recognized DePaul among the most innovative universities in a ranking that scored colleges for making “promising change” across their own school environments.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign turns out computer scientists and engineers at a staggering rate. With the sixth best program in the nation, this respected university is responsible for many of Chicago’s up and coming company founders.
Cost of Living
Ranked the 31st most expensive city in America by NerdWallet, it’s still much less expensive to live and work in the Windy City than in Silicon Valley or New York City. The median home price is under $250,000 and housing is readily available in most parts of the city.
Overall, the cost of living in Chicago is 1.9% below the national average. Unemployment sits at 6%. Job growth is at 1.9%.
How to Choose the Best Startup Attorney
In a world where answers are just a few clicks away, it may be tempting to strike out into the unknown world of startup management without on-call legal counsel. Hiring a lawyer to handle the tricky legal landscape of the emerging business is more than a simple way to obtain peace of mind.
Chicago startup attorneys understand the local startup scene, are intimately familiar with complicated legal issues, and can help prevent problems that could be devastating for a new business. This type of help doesn’t need to cripple a lean budget, but it is a worthy investment.
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Legal Services Offered by Our On-Demand Chicago Startup Attorneys
On UpCounsel, you can find and connect with top-rated Chicago startup attorneys & lawyers that provide a range of startup law services for startups and entrepreneurs that are starting a business. Any of the top-rated Chicago startup lawyers you connect with will be available to help with a variety of your startup law related legal needs on-demand or on an ongoing basis in the city of Chicago, IL.
From primarily dealing with things like business formation, contracts, leases, equity financing, securities, and intellectual property protection, the Chicago startup lawyers on UpCounsel can help you with a variety of specialized and general startup law related legal matters. No matter what type of startup law needs you have, you can easily hire an experienced Chicago startup lawyer on UpCounsel to help you today.
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Private Placement Memorandum
- 6 min read
Updated July 13, 2020:
Private Placement Memorandum: What is it?
A private placement memorandum (PPM), also commonly known as an offering memorandum or offering document, is a vitally important legal document that discloses the objectives, risks and terms of a proposed investment in your company. Your PPM will be distributed to potential investors whenever your company sells stock or another type of security in a private placement.
Your PPM will provide important facts and figures about your company and its business that are useful to potential investors, including:
Your company’s industry;
Descriptions of the products you sell and/or services you provide;
Product and economic projections;
- 5 min read
Updated October 29, 2020:
What Is a Non-Disclosure Agreement?
A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a legal contract that keeps one party from revealing another party's secrets. An NDA makes a confidential relationship between the parties, is used to protect proprietary or secret information, typically in business relationships. NDAs get more complicated the more information they need to cover, though they can start very simply. NDAs are especially popular in tech fields.
Other names include the following:
- Confidentiality Agreement.
- Non-Disclosure Form.
- Confidentiality Clause.
- Confidentiality Statement.
Sample NDAs for Download
- 7 min read
What Is a Business Visa?
A business visa, also known as the B-1 visa, is a non-immigrant visa into the United States of America. A B-1 visa is required if you are planning to travel to the U.S. for a short period of time for a business-related reason that does not require actual labor or payment from a U.S. source.
The business visa covers, but is not limited to, the following activities:
- Consulting with business associates
- Attending scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions and conferences
- Negotiating a contract
- Taking part in short-term training
- Settling an estate
- Competing in an amateur athletic event
- Participating in professional athletic competitions where no payment other than prize money is received
- Undertaking religious activities such as mi
- 13 min read
Poison Pill: What Is It?
A poison pill is a defense tactic companies use to deter or prevent hostile takeovers. These "shareholders rights plans" often threaten to dilute the price of stock enough to give the target company time to find alternative bids. It creates a cost that the purchasing company will have to pay after they've taken over. It also dilutes the value of the acquiring company's stock, to make taking over less appealing.
One company tries to wage a hostile takeover of another company by buying a large percentage of those shares. The company being taken over is called the target. The company or wealthy individual trying to take over is often called a corporate raider. The term poison pill does not refer to the target company harming their own interests. Instead, they're harming the corporate raider's interests.
Typically, corporate raiders try to increase a company's stock price when they acquire the company because
- 5 min read
Bylaws are the internal legal rules applicable to a corporation and must be followed by the company, its directors, shareholders, and officers when conducting business. They are applicable to both for-profit and nonprofit corporations.
State statutes govern what bylaws can and cannot say and do, and while there are similar considerations throughout the country, every state is different. So, it’s important to consider state-specific laws when drafting bylaws.
Generally, bylaws are legal documents that formally set out the rules of a company. While they may seem like a burden at times, once the company and its personnel are familiar with them and what they require, they can help the company work more efficiently by p