Navigating the legal waters as you launch a business can be a perilous journey. Good attorneys are expensive and the temptation to cut corners and jump into product development is often a strong one.
Of course, giving in to that temptation can cost you dearly down the road, as initial team members move on and VCs come calling. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, a law firm specializing in start-ups, has put together an online ‘tool kit’ for entrepreneurs that includes a wide variety of legal documents, a library to assist founders with the terms and terminology found in legal papers and a network of individuals and events where they can learn business strategy.
It’s not a substitute for your own attorney, of course, but it can help smaller firms better organize things and keep their legal fees to a minimum.
The start-up tool kit features three main components.
Term Sheet Creator: This series of interactive questions helps you create drafts of venture or start-up finance documents. The founders term sheet puts together a framework for you to organize your start-up and gives you something more concrete to memorialize the “deal” among founders before formally incorporating.
Similarly, the bridge financing term sheet lets you easily put together your financing picture before you begin chasing VC money and the preferred stock financing term sheet lets you prepare for additional investors.
Start-Up Forms Library: This collection of downloadable legal forms is meant to help you start and grow your company. There are 17 documents at present, including ones focusing on corporate formation, founder’s stock purchases, certification of incorporation, employee agreements and equity compensation documents.
Event Series: Like many legal firms, Orrick offers a slate of panels and lunch seminars. Called the “Total Access” Event Series, these particular gatherings focus on start-up venture-capital concerns. If you’re not based in Silicon Valley or San Francisco, though, this will be the least useful part of the kit.