how to consume legal services (pt. 0): disclaimer for founders

I have spoken with a lot of founders over the past few weeks regarding legal pain-points both for companies that are just starting off and for those that are scaling. From these conversations, I’ve been able to extract a little bit about how founders think about legal problems and how they source solutions. One thing became clear pretty quickly… how I, a lawyer, would have handled many of these situations was different than how many founders approached the same problem. And that is fine. Every legal problem is as unique as the person or company that it is happening to. There is no one right approach to legal. More specifically, there is no one right contract template to use, no one right law firm to handle your stuff, no right playbook to follow. There’s only what’s right for you… right now…

So, before we get into the nitty gritty of “how to consume legal services”, I wanted to provide a disclaimer in the form of a blog post. Here it is:

There is no one right approach to consuming legal services

For example, some founders are very good at DIY law. Detail oriented type-A hacker types can often be better lawyers than real lawyers. I’ve seen it first hand. I’ve seen companies grow far beyond the standard workload of one full-time lawyer, without actually hiring a full-time lawyer, and be okay. I wouldn’t suggest this, but it works for them and it works because of their unique qualities and the qualities of their business.

Other founders hate everything about legal. They avoid reading, thinking, or talking about anything “legal” as if it were the plague. They outsource all of this to firms, and some are fine paying top-dollar to know everything is being handled by the pros (in theory). Again, I wouldn’t suggest this, but it works. It is a strategy. And whether or not it’s the right one… for now… depends again on the unique qualities of the founder and their business.

If you are reading this and you fall into one of the camps above (or one resonates with you), don’t be alarmed. Also, try not to get too comfortable. You can always improve (a life lesson in general), and you could probably always do worse. In my next few posts, I hope I can help you — the reader — think differently about legal services and improve your experience with lawyers and legal service providers. Because if there is one thing that has been fairly consistent in my conversations with founders, it’s that legal stuff isn’t easy.

Some of the stickier founder legal questions I plan to cover in future posts:

  • When do I need a lawyer, and when can I DIY it (or hybrid DIY)?
  • How much do others pay for __x__?
  • When should I pay for the top-dollar big firms, and when should I find the small boutiques that can get the job done for less?
  • How do I actually find a good lawyer?
  • Why is legal so expensive, and how can I keep costs down?
  • How to prepare my lawyers, and prepare myself for my calls with lawyers?

My plan is to do some original thought in this space and diverge a bit from what has already been written. Hopefully this will give us all some new ways to solve some old problems. Thanks ya’ll. Talk soon.

Brian

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heycounsel founder and CEO, writing about legal services mostly and other things that peak my interest. Thanks for reading :)

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Brian Scherer

Brian Scherer

heycounsel founder and CEO, writing about legal services mostly and other things that peak my interest. Thanks for reading :)

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