Jan 31 2007 by Jason

How Do You Find A Good Law Firm?

Question: How do you find a good law firm? Which one’s can help me get in touch with VCs?

Our Take: There are many good law firms out there doing start up work. What used to be seen as solely a costal practice, has now permeated through out the country. Most major cities have at least one law firm that has the requisite experience to help you. The best referrals are from friends who have used particular attorneys. Most folks are quite open about their opinions. The key questions to ask are: “how many companies have you worked with that are now venture backed and weren’t so when you began working with them? How many venture capital (versus hedge or private equity) deals have you done in the last year? Does your firm have a dedicated startup practice, or is this just a “side business?” I’d also tell you that doing venture capital law isn’t rocket science, so if you get someone being too boastful, or putting down his / her competitors, they clearly are bragging more than it is warranted. The most important part of being a venture capital lawyer is being a good listener with sound judgment and having a good relationship with the entrepreneurs, along with the requisite experience. Make sure with whomever you choose, that you see them as a true partner, not an hourly paid servant.

As for which law firms can help you connect to VCs, again, there is good news. Ten years ago, or so, it was seemingly rare for law firms to have a close enough connection to get your business plan in front of a VC. Maybe they could send over the business plan, but the regular experience was that they usually entered a “black hole.” These days, I think VCs are more open to really looking at business plans submitted by their law firm partners. One thing that is certain: law firms that do VC fund formation work definitely have good contacts to VCs. So if you are looking for your lawyers to make some intros, you can never go wrong with a law firm that helps form the VC funds themselves.