Scott Edward Walker’s sponsor post, Top 10 reasons why entrepreneurs hate lawyers, created a lot of awesome discussion about startup lawyers. See the comments to that post and the comments to Bram Cohen’s follow-up, “Lawyers can’t tell you you can’t do something”.

Scott’s post also generated a lot of positive comments from lawyers who blog, tweet, and comment. So let’s start a list of “social” startup lawyers: lawyers who blog, tweet, Facebook, etc.

Here’s a first draft, in alphabetical order, including a link to the comments they left on Bram and Scott’s posts. I’ve included info on how I know each one.

Matt Bartus (comment). Matt Mullenweg (Automattic’s founder) works with him and introduced us. Matt Bartus is sponsoring Venture Hacks in a few weeks.

George Grellas (comment). George has lots of good advice on his website and he’s active on Hacker News.

Rob Hyndman (Toronto) (comment). Rob has left a lot of comments on Venture Hacks if I remember correctly.

Antone Johnson (comment). I really liked his comment and Twitter bio.

Nathan Roach (IP focus) (comment). Former programmer — always a bonus.

Yokum Taku (comment). Yokum’s blog is one of the best startup law resources on the web.

Scott Edward Walker. The sponsor who started this all.

(Apologies if you left a comment and you’re not on this list — please add yourself in the comments here.)

Update: Giff Constable has his own list of Great startup lawyers.

Update 2: See the comments for more recommendations, including my legal friend Andre Gharakhanian.

Update 3: Mark Suster and True Ventures also have their own lists.

I’ve never met any of the lawyers on this list in person — except Yokum, who I’ve met once. That’s the way it usually goes with startup lawyers. You meet them once and then phone/email them for the next few years.

Obviously, a startup lawyer doesn’t need to be social to be good. Venture Hacks works with Jorge del Calvo and Tom Thomas. Neither one is social and they both rock.

Please add your favorite startup-focused lawyers in the comments. They can be social or not — but tell us why you like them, e.g. have you worked with them? And if you’re a startup lawyer, feel free to add yourself — especially if you’re social.

Topics Lawyers

42 comments · Show

  • Rob Hyndman

    Thanks, Nivi. Great idea – it’s not easy to find people with the right sensibility for helping startups. BTW, I’m actually working now with David Crow on a new event for startups in Toronto – any chance we could get you up to Toronto in late May to talk to local startups? ;)

  • Pete Warden

    I’ve never met Jay Parkhill, but we’ve emailed a lot and he has a handy blog of legal tips for startups at: http://blog.jparkhill.com

    He’s also on Twitter as @park3

  • Aletheia O'Neil

    I would add Jeffrey W. Rose and Steve Goldstein to this list. We’ve used them both through various stages of starting up our company and both are excellent!

  • Giff

    Good stuff Nivi. VH’s recent posts led me to the same conclusion, thinking we needed to help startups find the right kind of lawyer. I reached out to a bunch of entrepreneurs around N. America yesterday and the beginnings of that list is here: http://bit.ly/8vqzHy

  • Warrick Taylor

    Raj Jha at Smithline JHA is awesome (http://www.smithlinejha.com/). They specialize in transactional law – partnership agreements, contracts, ToS, etc. and have a subscription pricing model based on the number of transactions they will work on in a given month, so you end up spending a lot less than with hourly billing.

  • Malgosia Green

    I’ve worked with Rob Hyndman for several years. I can vouch for him. He is the first lawyer I’ve worked with whose invoices relate to the value of work done.

    Rob – I’ve asked Nivi to come to Toronto several times. Perhaps your request will do the trick. :)

  • David Hauser

    I would add Tom Rosedale to this list from http://www.brllawgroup.com. He is the best start-up and entrepreneurial lawyer I know. From experience with his homes companies, to VC deals of all sizes and on both sides he has been very helpful for me.

  • geode

    The best I’ve experienced are Joyce Colson and Rob Quinn of the firm Colson-Quinn in Boulder Colorado. Their focus is on new ventures and small businesses, and I regularly endorse them, because they have real world experience in the legal challenges a new ventures faces, both out of the court room and in the court room. They offer practical advice from a perspective of not only having created the legal construct hundreds of time but also having had to defend their work in court. Thus, their perspective is not just academic or transactional but also is influenced by the notion of having to stand up in court. For my money, there are no better attorneys for a start-up!

  • Witold Stankiewicz

    My favorite startup lawyer so far would be Andre Gharakhanian from http://www.siliconlegal.com. I am one of the cheapest people on Earth, yet somehow I pay Andre’s invoices with a smile. I recommend him whenever anyone asks. He just maintains a super high level of customer service and manages to take care of our issues with minimal hassle.

  • Lukas Biewald

    @witold – We use Andre too, and he’s worked with a lot of our friends. Many of our investors started using him after seeing how inexpensive and awesome he was. I’m surprised he wasn’t the first on the list.

  • Kord Campbell

    I was just going to mention Silicon Legal as well.

    Both Raffy and I went up and down the peninsula on an attorney interview spree back in September, and Andre was the last one we met with. I loved him immediately (must have been the blazer and graphic t-shirt he had on) and haven’t looked back since.

    SLS did all our incorporation and A round work, but they also whipped up a beta test legal disclaimer for our site, which requires their detailed understanding of our offering. This isn’t your average law firm — they really understand what it takes to navigate the software startup space.

    If you are a startup, and are looking for solid, quality work by a sharp set of people, you’d do well to give them a holler!

  • Sumaya Kazi

    I’m glad to see Scott Edward Walker on this list! I highly recommend him to any and all entrepreneurs. His expertise is in the representation of entrepreneurs and in your first conversation with him you immediately can see what sets him apart from others – he’s genuine in wanting to help, patient, extremely knowledgeable (especially when it comes to issues that entrepreneurs deal with), affordable (very important especially when you’re a startup!) and efficient. I’m a fan of his blog http://walkercorporatelaw.com/blog/ & his Ask the Attorney column in VentureBeat.

    • scott edward walker

      Sumaya – Many thanks for your kind words (and for referencing my blog/VentureBeat). It’s to work with exciting clients like you that I moved out here to California.

      Nivi – Great job pulling this list together. Hopefully, it will continue to grow.

      Cheers.

  • Ryan Ferrier

    We also use Andre Gharakhanian. I couldn’t recommend him more highly. He’s very affordable, extremely prompt, and incredibly knowledgeable on all things startups. Silicon Legal Strategy has been the perfect solution for us.

  • Nick Ducoff

    Great post and helpful links. I am a startup/venture capital attorney in Austin with Andrews Kurth and I blog at http://www.nickducoff.com. I also tweet at @nickducoff.

  • Anthony Martin

    There are two great start-up IP/Business lawyers here in St. Louis that have a very attractive rate schedule for their levels of expertise and high-end experience. They are the BrickHouse Law Group (www.brickhouselaw.com).

    Check @PeteSalsich and @GeoffGerber for Tweets.

  • Joe Wallin

    Great post and helpful links. I am a startup/venture capital attorney in Seattle with Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and I blog at http://www.startupcompanylawblog.com. I also tweet at @joewallin.

  • Pete Salsich

    Great idea for a post — and the comments are particularly helpful. Thanks for the shout-out from Anthony Martin — he’s a privacy law expert who can be helpful for start-ups who need to make sure they have all their privacy issues addressed up front. My partner Geoff Gerber and I will be launching a new blog in about a week. It will be called The Anchor Plate — http://www.anchorplateip.com — and will focus on IP issues and law practice — including fixed fees, etc. We tweet under @PeteSalsich and @GeoffGerber.

    I also want to highlight another great law/start-up resource in St. Louis. Scott Levine at AEGIS Professional Services (http://www.aegisps.com) (@scottlevinejd) Scott is a corporate attorney with a heavy focus on start-ups — including a complete package of creating organizing documentation, business plan consulting and capital sourcing. We had a great meeting introducing him to a client today and look forward to many more.

  • Casey Allen

    In my very early and scary days, the education pumped out by these two helped me tremendously, although I’ve never used them for legal work.

    Both use Twitter and their blogs very well with original content to inform the uninformed entrepreneur.

    Ryan Roberts – South Lake, TX – http://thestartuplawyer.com

    Brian Powers – Carmel, IN – http://bvplegal.com

  • Ryan Block

    I’d give big ups to the gang at Fortis, specifically Rob (and Joyce — but I think she’s on sabbatical these days). Super helpful, incredibly responsive, and all around awesome to work with:

    http://www.fortisgc.com
    http://www.fortisgc.com/robert_m_dang.html

    • Carrie Young

      I second the recommendation for Rob Dang at Fortis GC. They’re consistent, reliable, affordable, and absolutely a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them for tech companies that are just starting out or who have been around for quite some time. From basic legal matters to financing and contract negotiations, Rob is awesome.

  • Rob Meadows

    Doug Mandell is the best startup counsel there is (LinkedIn’s former GC). http://mlawgroup.com

  • Jesse Lamb

    I’m an attorney handling business law for tech and creative professionals, aiming in particular at helping bootstrapping teams and freelancers. I’m licensed in Florida and soon to be in New York, with co-counsel in California and elsewhere.

    I blog at http://notmylawyer.com with legal information for tech entrepreneurs. I’ll be starting up my podcast up soon, and my first episode is already available on iTunes. I’m @jesselamb and @notmylawyer on twitter. Even if I can’t be your lawyer I love talking to entrepreneurs. Hit me up with your questions!

  • nathan

    The list is a great idea. Thanks for the mention, and I’d like to suggest one more way for startups to find a great lawyer: ask the list who they’ve “faced off” against and respect. I’m in Texas but there are plenty of good attorneys I’ve encountered nationwide who have proven their capability on the other side of the table. You learn a great deal about your opponents’ ethics, personality, and capabilities after a long series of negotiations or at the end of protracted litigation. When I run into a situation where a prospective client needs “local counsel” outside my area or when I’m unable to assist because of a conflict, my first thoughts turn to those who I’ve gone up against in the past.

  • Apolinaras "Apollo" Sinkevicius

    In Boston I like VC Ready Law guys (http://www.vcreadylaw.com/). Ben and Michael are down to earth, seem to take feedback from entrepreneurs to heart, and are putting it in action. Both have great “pedigree” with experience to match without being afflicted by the usual lawyer know-it-all disease.

    They are on twitter too http://twitter.com/VCready

  • Antone Johnson

    Great to see Yokum Taku get the credit he deserves. He was well-respected at WSGR when I was there a decade ago; no doubt his game has improved since then, and his blog is a valuable resource.

  • Etai

    Great idea and very useful I am sure.

    Any thoughts on creating an international list?

  • Justin Copeland

    My name is Justin Copeland and my law firm, The Copeland Law Firm PC, is based out of Austin, TX. We handle a variety of startup, IP, securities, M&A, and other transactional issues. We offer up front flat fee quotes and deferred fees on many transactional services. I’m a former entrepreneur and programmer (I still dabble a bit in ruby and cocoa) turned business lawyer. We offer a free consultation and love talking to entrepreneurs, so give us a call or email anytime.

  • Jeff Tseng

    I’ve worked with Rob and the group at Fortis on my current startup as well my previous startup as well and they’re great. They’ll even game with you if you ask nicely. ;)

  • Albert Lai

    Yep, Rob Dang at “Fortis General Counsel LLP” is your man in the Bay Area if you’re looking for a startup lawyer and gaming partner (as per my cofounder’s comments before me).

    If you’re in Toronto, Glenn Rumbell at “Ross Rumbell Venture Law” has also provided me with great work on multiple occasion in Toronto.

    Rob Hyndman is of course a known entity in the startup circles here. Rob is also a great guy. I hardly have to post anything about that guy.

  • Douglas Merrill

    I’m a big fan of Dan Friedland @ Orrick (dfriedland@orrick.com) in the LA area….

  • Dana Shultz

    My clients are startup and early-stage companies – many located in the Bay Area.

    Their questions and experiences are the starting point for most of my posts on The High-touch Legal Services Blog and tweets (@danashultz).

    I am pleased that, near as I can tell, I have none of the ten characteristics that make entrepreneurs hate lawyers.

    More social links on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/danashultz) and Avvo (http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/94611-ca-dana-shultz-239301.html).

    Documents pertaining to social lawyers on my blog’s Downloads page: “Lawyers and Social Media: Ten Tips for Online Marketing Success” and “Lawyers, Social Media and Disclaimers”.

  • Ben

    There is another great legal resource for California based tech startups–it is a confidential legal question and answer service that is geared toward startups and tech companies and it just launched. It is a new way for startups and tech companies to find the right lawyers for their needs.

    It allows companies to submit confidential legal questions to multiple lawyers simultaneously on typical company issues such as IP, corporate, employment, etc. The answers companies receive will allow the companies to more effectively compare and evaluate lawyers before actually deciding to hire them. It is called Law Pivot (http://www.lawpivot.com).

  • Amber

    As far as tech startups and other startups in the Austin, TX, area, I’d have to recommend Stanfield & Hiserodt (http://www.sbhpllc.com/). Their rates are sensitive to the situation many new business owners are in, and it’s been my experience that they’re well-rounded enough to be your law firm throughout all the stages of a company’s growth. Good guys.

    They do a pretty interesting technology law blog that talks about different issues facing the tech entrepreneur, as well as other topics of general interest in the intellectual property community:

    http://www.austintechnologylawblog.com/

  • Ari Kuchinsky

    I am a startup lawyer in Dallas, Texas and I blog about startup related topics at http://counselstartup.com

  • Chad DePue

    I have to recommend my friend Douglas Choi at http://tangolaw.com – early stage startup lawyer, has IPO experience, charges much less than traditional SF Bay/Seattle firms… Highly recommended.

  • Anonymous

    Hi I have two comments
    1. by “social” I thought you were referring to lawyers for social entrepreneurs not lawyers on social networks, oops
    2. I’m from London, UK- are there any UK based social lawyers for startups
    otherwise great article- thanks!

  • Earl Galleher

    I am the Chairman and CEO of Basho Technologies, Inc. We started the company in Jan. 2008 and have managed to not only survive, but thrive through the downturn in late 2008 and through the economic challenges since. Our attorney is John Chory at Wilmer Hale in Waltham MA. I got to know John when I was EVP at Akamai Tech where John was with Hale & Dorr and was Akamai’s attorney from the start of that company.

    John is an extraordinarily good attorney and a better person. Graduated from Westpoint so he is organized and crisp. Been guiding start ups through legal matters for a very long time, and he is a person with compassion for his clients. We have been fortunate to have John as our counsel since we started Basho. He has been such a valuable resource for the company.

  • Meredith Carter

    I am a proud attorney in the wonderful Venture Capital and Emerging Growth practice group at Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz LLP (www.cblh.com), and Manager of Business Development for the Firm.

    In my practice, I work with emerging growth companies and private equity and venture capital investors, helping them to build businesses, structure deals, and plan for growth over multiple rounds of funding and to maximize shareholder wealth.

    I often work with Connolly Bove’s intellectual property attorneys in a client service team from the beginning of an engagement, resulting in maximum business and IP protection and cost savings for clients. (http://www.cblh.com/practices/ip_smart/venture_capital_emerging_growth)

  • Elliott Dahan

    It would be great if you could list these lawyers by city.