Legal · Corporate law

Where can I find an attorney that will work for company equity and help it stay compliant?

Scott Klein

January 12th, 2016

We are an established company of 5 years and have ran into a couple of legal claims against our company.  We are looking to dispute the said claims and clearing our company's name.  The attorneys I have reached out to usually require a pretty sizeable retainer fee up front, which we are not in a position to afford.

I would like to work with an attorney that will work for equity in the company.  Yes I know the cost could eventually be more, but their knowledge is sometimes so valuable.

Does anyone know of an attorney or a group that helps companies with legal dealings and work based on company performance?

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Ryan Long Author and Tech/Media/Design Attorney

January 12th, 2016

Scott, I run my own practice and can be flexible about things. Why don't we have a call to see what you are up against? My best regards, Ryan

Steve Everhard All Things Startup

January 12th, 2016

You have a couple of good offers here. You are really asking for a lawyer to join your board with equity as a sweetener. Unless you are on the verge of a flotation or acquisition you're offer of equity is based on your assumption of the future value of your business, which is potentially a highly risky proposition given your current predicaments. Perhaps it would be best to pay for some initial advice at this stage. Clearly you want the claims to go away so you need some initial review of their merit from a legal perspective. In litigation there is no black and white answer but an approach that brings you and the other parties to mediation might be the best solution - unless they are hell bent on seeing you in court of course!
The best route to resolution is to not go to law if there is another reasonable approach - offer and counter offer.

Carole Bellis Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend

January 17th, 2016

Scott, there are lots of law firms in Silicon Valley that will defer payment of corporate legal fees of startups for some period in exchange for a small equity stake. It sounds to me like the work you need done is litigation related work. In that case, what you need to find is a law firm willing to take on your matter on a contingency fee agreement - they do the legal work and get paid their fees only if you are successful with your claim. A firm's willingness to do that is going to be linked to their assessment of the likelihood of prevailing. Litigation is very expensive. Carole Bellis Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP 1080 Marsh Rd. Menlo Park, CA 94025 (650) 462-5313

Yuliya Flynn Attorney at The Samek Law Firm and Entrepreneur

January 12th, 2016

You just need to look for an attorney who is as entrepreneurial as yourself and also who believes in your project and ready to support it long the way. There are many of those out there, you just need to evaluate and make sure it is a proper fit! Best regards, Yuliya Flynn, Esq.

Faisal Memon iOS Department Technical Lead at Citrix ShareFile Quick Edit

January 12th, 2016

I respect the answers already given -- all good.  I have some suggestions to add which I hope are of use to you.

Firstly, I notice you're CEO of Student Consulting Group.  Does that mean your circle would include law students, and academics, with access to legal resources, libraries etc.?  If so, receptive ears may be nearby to help.

Secondly, (you don't need to answer this on the forum), does the nature of the legal claims being made indicate the value of the startup and its goals, or are the claims tangential to your business.  If people are using legal means to block your progress it can be a good signal. [Consider AirBnB and the hotel regulation business as an example].  You may be able to raise funds partly by such circumstances.

Thirdly, when there are disagreements role playing can be an effective way of seeing the problem from both sides.  It costs very little and can feel silly.  You get together your trusted team, you play the plaintiff and simulate the argument, the process and procedures and work it through.  At the end you note down the what and why of the situation.  Maybe re-run it with a different strategy.  You are just trying to gain insights which might have been absent and got things to where they are at the moment.

I wish you success and good luck!

Irwin Stein Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.

January 16th, 2016

I can tell you from 40 years of experience that the cost of a good defense attorney can vary greatly depending upon wear you are located. Selecting an attorney who will work for a share of your company will in no way guarantee that you will get the right attorney to handle the claims. Better to sell the share that you would give the attorney to a third party for cash and find the right attorney to defend you.