Hacking Legal Fees

Startup life often boils down to a few key moments. From incorporation to first hires, securing investments, key partnerships and hopefully a big pay day down the road. What all these moments have in common is that they involve lawyers.

I have worked with some great lawyers over the years but I have never once enjoyed paying a legal bill, even reasonable ones. Since legal bills are unavoidable here are some tips for hacking them down to size:

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Startup Back Office 101

So let’s face it: the reason we all start companies is to deal with the paperwork and admin that comes from owning your own business, right? Not. Still, it is a necessary evil and the truth is that running a tight back office goes a long towards helping you build a better business.

With that in mind, here’s a talk I gave to the Founderfuel teams this week along with some summary notes.

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Zoocasa: Scraper beware

Short post today with an interesting legal judgment for Canadian startups shared with me by the folks at Labarge Weinstein (aka Canada’s most startup friendly law firm).

This case involves Zoocasa, a Toronto startup. Like many startups, Zoocasa scrapes a variety of web sites to collect its data. Turns out some of those sites took exception to this and claimed that this activity was a violation of their terms of service.

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The Great Canadian Seed Lawyer Challenge

Back in March, uber-VC Fred Wilson issued a challenge to startup lawyers in the US to do seed deals for $5K or less. There are some great templates for seed documents in the US and he felt correctly that seed deals should not cost more than $5K.

We don’t have such widely accepted templates here in Canada, but we are getting there.  MaRS has a published standard based on the series seed. We have been using them for all our deals at Real Ventures.

Anyway, with more seed deals starting to get done here in Canada, I issued a similar challenge to lawyers here. Without further ado here is a list of great lawyers that are committed to the Canadian startup community and can do seed deals for $5K or less.

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