What is “startup law?” What does a “startup lawyer” do?

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On the “Startups & Early-Stage Companies” page of my website, I describe some of the services I provide to those clients. They include entity formation & capitalization, early financing transactions, intellectual property protection and management, employment law (especially Employment Agreements, Policies, and Equity Compensation), various commercial transactions and agreements (customer, vendor, distributor, et al.), privacy and data security policies, and other blocks that make up a solid legal foundation for a young company. That foundation is somewhat different for a three-person Massachusetts LLC in a service business versus a tech company setting up as a Delaware corporation with multiple founders and the hope for early outside investors, but the point is to get the company up and running with a legal structure that will support the business through its early years. The structure can be added on to and adapted as the business grows in size and complexity.


“Startup Law” is an emerging specialty within business law, as evidenced by a helpful new book, Acceleration: What All Entrepreneurs Must Know About Startup Law, by Ryan Roberts. I will write up a full review of the book, but for now let me say that I will be recommending it to my startup clients. Today, I want to borrow from its table-of-contents to provide the best answer I’ve seen to the question, “What is Startup Law?” Mind you, I don’t handle all of the matters Ryan includes, such as VC financing and securities (Chapters 9 & 10), but this is an excellent list of the issues and questions that the startup lawyer must help the client to address. Many thanks to Ryan Roberts, founder of Startuplawyer.com, for such a comprehensive and timely resource.






[Final subsections of Chapter 10: Rule 504; Rule 701; Regulation S; Regulation Crowdfunding; Regulation A+; Blue Sky Laws; Integratiion; “Bad Actor” Disqualification; Resale of Restricted Securities