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Legal Counsel recommendations with start-up experience

We are a start-up (technology-hardware) company that is close to closing series A. Anyone has recommendations for a Legal Counsel that can help us with the Series A docs and more importantly, equity structure recommendations and compensation framework for early employees,key officers and new hires? We are Bay Area based and as start-ups goes, our funding is limited and would love to use the Series A money more in R&D and not legal/compensation expenses.

Answers

Topic Expert
Simon Westbrook
Title: CFO
Company: Aargo Inc.
( CFO, Aargo Inc.) |

This is a quite a basic process... and individualised to every company to reflect who the founder managers are, the kind of investors being sought, the proximity and reality of the investment, the prospects, etc. But the key thing is to get it right. Any problems in setting up contractual terms for founders and early employees, locking in contributed IP,
agreeing to vesting terms on founder stock, strategic partner interests, etc. are all important issues to be recognised in going for series A round. If these are not sorted out prior to making an offering series A investors, it could lessen the attractiveness to investors.

This is a relatively standard routine and you should be able to negotiate a fixed price deferred payment deal from a reputable lawyer. I paid $6,000 for a complete package from a first division law firm. The Proformative site is not a place to make personal recommendations but if you like to contact me I can pass on some names of lawyers I have worked with privately.

Good luck!

Topic Expert
Kent Thomas
Title: Founder
Company: Advanced CFO Solutions
(Founder, Advanced CFO Solutions) |

Simon's advice is sound. Which firm or attorney you use is very important because you want to get someone who has deep experience in early stage equity financing. Exactly who you select in your market depends on where you are. Since I'm not in the Bay Area, I can't make a lot of specific recommendations but there are many excellent attorneys there in large and small firms. The larger firms like Cooley and Wilson Sonsini will make specially priced deals for startups but I suggest that you reach out to other entrepreneurs in your area who have had successful experience raising capital in the past and get their recommendation / feedback.

Good Luck!

Topic Expert
Peter Freeman
Title: Chairperson - Clean Tech Committee
Company: Keiretsu Forum - Angel Investors
(Chairperson - Clean Tech Committee, Keiretsu Forum - Angel Investors) |

I have had very good experience with Donahue Fitzgerald, http://donahue.com/

Michael Sebree leads their corporate practice, and his team is very experienced with start-ups. You can mention my name.

The others mentioned, WS and Cooley, are also good choices, but as large firms it is sometimes challenging to get their attention.

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