What are the questions I should be asking an attorney?

Following are some questions that will help you prepare for your first meeting with your startup lawyer.


What are you billing models and how do they work?

What do you charge for:

  • Incorporations
  • Founders Agreements
  • NDA's
  • Employment Contracts

How often do I get billing statements?

Every time I call you or email you, will you charge me? Why? 

What is the minimum increment of time for billing?

How do you help us manage our total billings with you? what is your strategy around that?

Explain the parameters of your deferred billing models?

Is there a cap on billings?

What if we fail and never raise money, do you charge us?

Can we renegotiate when the prospect of investment comes our way?


What is the attorney relationship with the firm?  

How often do I interact with associates over partners?

Who is going to be assigned to my account?

Who will my partner be?

What are the hourly rates for all of the people on my account? 

Will I be notified when the person working on a project changes?

What value do you provide outside of the legal sphere: industry relationships, finance relationships?

Can you represent the individuals of the company for estate planning purposes? who would you refer to?


What areas of law to you cover in-house and what do refer out?



Corporate--venture capital deals: cap tables , term sheets


Expertise-Specific Questions

What is your experience negotiating VC term sheets?

What equity splits are you seeing?

What is your degree of experience negotiating licenses?

What licensing rates are you seeing?

When is the use of RACHET appropriate in today's market?

 (A RACHET clause in a contract is a stipulation where the contract rights of those involved is adjusted according to the formula agreed to as each stage is completed)





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