Legal Issues for Busy Entrepreneurs Evan Prodromou [email_address] LawyersLounge 27-Sep-2011
Who am I? <ul><li>Founder, Wikitravel </li></ul><ul><li>Founder, StatusNet </li></ul>
Why should you care? <ul><li>Lawyers write the source code for your business </li></ul><ul><li>Legal costs are high </li><...
What you need a lawyer for <ul><li>Incorporation </li></ul><ul><li>Funding documents </li></ul><ul><li>Employment agreemen...
What you need a lawyer for (cont'd) <ul><li>Terms of service and privacy policy </li></ul><ul><li>Software licensing agree...
You will probably... <ul><li>...have venture funding </li></ul><ul><li>...seek tax credits </li></ul><ul><li>...have a cro...
What does a lawyer do? <ul><li>Translates  your   ideas into legal documents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>...doesn't create your ...
Who to hire? <ul><li>Not  your family or personal attorney </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They're busy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>T...
Who to hire? <ul><li>Someone well-known in the city </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First impression important </li></ul></ul><ul><u...
What to ask for <ul><li>Venture funding experience </li></ul><ul><li>Information technology experience </li></ul><ul><ul><...
Top 5 things to do <ul><li>Incorporate clean and early </li></ul><ul><li>Have agreements for  all  contractors and employe...
Top 5 things not to do <ul><li>Let legal discussions run on forever </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You're the one to make things mo...
Open Source legal docs <ul><li>http://www.seriesseed.com/  Series Seed from Fenwick & West </li></ul><ul><li>http://lexpub...
Other resources <ul><li>Venture Deals  – Feld & Mendelson </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don't do a deal without reading this book!...
Contact <ul><li>Evan Prodromou </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>http://evanprodromou.name/ </li></ul>
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Legal issues for busy entrepreneurs

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My talk at LawyersLounge in Montreal on 27 September 2011. Goes over some basic tips on choosing and using legal help for startups.

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Legal issues for busy entrepreneurs

  1. 1. Legal Issues for Busy Entrepreneurs Evan Prodromou [email_address] LawyersLounge 27-Sep-2011
  2. 2. Who am I? <ul><li>Founder, Wikitravel </li></ul><ul><li>Founder, StatusNet </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why should you care? <ul><li>Lawyers write the source code for your business </li></ul><ul><li>Legal costs are high </li></ul><ul><li>You have to use them a lot </li></ul>
  4. 4. What you need a lawyer for <ul><li>Incorporation </li></ul><ul><li>Funding documents </li></ul><ul><li>Employment agreements </li></ul><ul><li>IP and non-compete agreements </li></ul>
  5. 5. What you need a lawyer for (cont'd) <ul><li>Terms of service and privacy policy </li></ul><ul><li>Software licensing agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Services and consulting agreements </li></ul><ul><li>Registering IP (trademarks, copyright, patents) </li></ul>
  6. 6. You will probably... <ul><li>...have venture funding </li></ul><ul><li>...seek tax credits </li></ul><ul><li>...have a cross-border business </li></ul><ul><li>...license or sell software </li></ul><ul><li>...use or include someone else's software </li></ul><ul><li>...provide an on-line software service </li></ul>
  7. 7. What does a lawyer do? <ul><li>Translates your ideas into legal documents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>...doesn't create your ideas for you </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Advises you of risks or issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>...doesn't make decisions for you </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Helps plan for government relations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>...doesn't deal with the government bureaucracy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Works for the company </li></ul><ul><ul><li>...doesn't work for you </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organizes deal documents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>...doesn't organize your business </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Who to hire? <ul><li>Not your family or personal attorney </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They're busy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They're kind of conflicted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They probably don't have experience in your area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They really won't mind! </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Who to hire? <ul><li>Someone well-known in the city </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First impression important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask around </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not someone your investors are using! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>#CONFLICT </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Someone expensive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy; they're all expensive </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. What to ask for <ul><li>Venture funding experience </li></ul><ul><li>Information technology experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web framework != new cancer drug </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cross-border connections </li></ul><ul><li>Local references </li></ul>
  11. 11. Top 5 things to do <ul><li>Incorporate clean and early </li></ul><ul><li>Have agreements for all contractors and employees </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IP, employment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep track of all IP you use or make </li></ul><ul><ul><li>software, domains, images, text </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don't work without a contract! </li></ul><ul><li>Keep contact info and records </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Everyone, everything </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Top 5 things not to do <ul><li>Let legal discussions run on forever </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You're the one to make things move forward </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Phone, email, chat, think about lawyer unnecessarily </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$$$$$$$$ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Treat lawyers like private tutors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>read up on your own! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Clean it up later </li></ul><ul><li>Get paranoid </li></ul>
  13. 13. Open Source legal docs <ul><li>http://www.seriesseed.com/ Series Seed from Fenwick & West </li></ul><ul><li>http://lexpubli.ca/ LexPublica </li></ul><ul><li>Http://en.wordpress.com/tos/ Wordpress.com TOS </li></ul><ul><li>Mostly for US legal frameworks </li></ul>
  14. 14. Other resources <ul><li>Venture Deals – Feld & Mendelson </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don't do a deal without reading this book! </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Contact <ul><li>Evan Prodromou </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>http://evanprodromou.name/ </li></ul>

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