Minneapolis Startup Attorneys & Lawyers
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Andrew D. Ellis
Minneapolis Startup Lawyers
Legal Tips and Information
Areas of Legal Concern for the Startup
Startups often share common legal concerns – wherever they are located, Minneapolis or elsewhere – and as such, a startup attorney must either provide quality services in those particular legal areas, or be well-networked for referral purposes. Even if a startup attorney is not specialized in an area of legal concern commonly associated with startups, they should (at the very least) have a cursory understanding of the law such that they can advise you on next steps and refer you to suitable specialized attorneys.
Generally speaking, a skilled startup attorney should be able to advise on and process initial issues related to the following areas:
The best startup attorneys are not only capable of drafting explicit contracts that clearly communicate each party’s intentions at the time of execution, but will also advise on the advantages and disadvantages of particular contract provisions so as to minimize the potential for unexpected issues down the road. Some startup attorneys may also be able to handle contract litigation in the event of a dispute, though such disputes are often handled by a specialized litigator.
As a startup grows, human capital becomes an increasingly important – and somewhat difficult to manage – resource. Your startup attorney should be able to draft an employment agreement and associated agreements (such as an NDA or confidentiality agreement). A good startup attorney will also advise your team on how to avoid potentially disastrous employment litigation, and will help you structure your employment process accordingly.
Intellectual Property Law
For many startups, intellectual property serves as the foundation of the business and its value offering. Securing one’s intellectual property rights is therefore crucial to continued survival and growth. Most qualified startup attorneys will have some experience with registering trademarks, copyrights, and patents (though for patents, further referral to a specialized patent attorney may be necessary), and will advise on strategic issues as they come up. This is key: your startup attorney is not simply a proxy for proceeding with registration “busy work.” Your startup attorney should be able to advise you on the quality of your trademark and copyright, and whether they are likely to be enforceable.
What Makes for a Good Startup Attorney?
Self-proclaimed startup attorneys are a rather diverse group with a wide variety of professional experiences – some hailing from a “big law” corporate practice background, others from a more generalist, small firm background. Though there are real experiential differences between attorneys, a truly great startup attorney is not obvious from a résumé alone. He or she must exhibit certain core qualities and maintain a professional offering that is well-adapted to the unique concerns of entrepreneurial ventures.
The best startup attorneys provide personalized service to their clients. There is no clear blueprint for the provision of legal services to startups, as modern startups tend to be disruptive in their chosen industry. Thus, a skilled startup attorney will not attempt to shoehorn in a one-size-fits-all process, but will instead take the time to develop a customized offering that meets your company’s particular needs. Beware of lazy attorneys! You do not have to compromise on quality to get reasonably-priced, personalized services. The UpCounsel platform has thousands of skilled attorneys ready to go the extra mile for you and your startup.
The nature of many modern startups is – as we earlier described – disruptive. In your industry, you may find that your business pushes the boundaries of existing regulation. Executing an industry shake-up requires an attorney with an adaptive mindset and the legal expertise necessary to help you avoid noncompliance with existing regulation.
Regulation of your industry may change drastically over the coming years. An attorney who is highly adaptive will be able to more skillfully predict and react to such changes.
Your Minneapolis startup attorney should be tapped into a network of relevant professionals – both legal and industry-related. For example, if you are operating an agricultural startup, you’ll likely benefit from working with an attorney who has industry-related legal experience and who is well-connected with other agricultural professionals (and companies!). Well-connected attorneys have a finger on the pulse of change, giving them a significant advantage compared to other startup attorneys when it comes to strategically advising on legal issues in their “connected” industry.
Continuing the Professional Relationship
When you’re first starting out with an attorney, you may not be ready to enter into a long-term professional relationship – and rightly so. Perhaps you’d like to test for compatibility with your team and judge the attorney’s work-product with smaller, more immediate tasks. Ultimately, your chosen attorney may be the sole legal advisor associated with your startup in the beginning, and as such, it is crucial that you are comfortable with your long-term contract attorney both personally and professionally.
Of course, if you and your team do not have experience working with legal industry professionals, it can be difficult to make a decision as to continuing to work with your current attorney, or looking for a new one on UpCounsel. Your team may be frustrated with certain aspects of the startup attorney’s services. At what point do these frustrations legitimize an end to the professional relationship? How do you know whether an attorney is worth continuing a relationship with in the long-term?
If your hired startup attorney is not professionally compatible with you and/or your team, then this may signal a long-term problem in the working relationship.
Essentially, an attorney that is professionally incompatible will have a work process that is fundamentally at odds with you and/or your team’s work process. For example, your attorney may not be responsive with emails, even after repeated requests that he or she be more responsive. If your business handles important decision-making and information-sharing concerns over email, then having an unresponsive attorney can seriously interfere with workplace efficiency.
Professional compatibility issues should be addressed with your attorney at first. If your attorney is resistant to compromise, then you may want to consider finding a new attorney for the long-term.
Though not strictly necessary, personal compatibility goes a long way towards ensuring a successful attorney-client relationship. Startup attorneys will work closely with you and your team at many stages of the business, and personality friction can make this working relationship much more of a hassle – causing additional and unwanted stress at an already stressful time.
Before hiring a Minneapolis startup attorney on UpCounsel, make sure to engage with them personally, whether in-person, through a video-chat meeting, or phone call. It’s important that you get to know the attorney so that you can more accurately judge whether they will be a good fit for your workplace culture.
Check Ratings Beforehand
Attorneys on the UpCounsel platform have ratings and reviews left by previous (and current) clients. UpCounsel profiles also indicate how many repeat customers an attorney has, which is a great tool for preliminarily assessing whether an attorney works well with others. Always check an attorney’s reviews on the platform before hiring – you may come across information that indicates an unworkable incompatibility.
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Legal Services Offered by Our On-Demand Minneapolis Startup Attorneys
On UpCounsel, you can find and connect with top-rated Minneapolis 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 Minneapolis 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 Minneapolis, MN.
From primarily dealing with things like business formation, contracts, leases, equity financing, securities, and intellectual property protection, the Minneapolis 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 Minneapolis startup lawyer on UpCounsel to help you today.
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