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Meet some of our San Francisco Startup Lawyers

Laura B. on ContractsCounsel
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5.0 (5)
Member Since:
October 6, 2023

Laura B.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Oakland, CA
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
UC Davis School of Law

I received my undergraduate degree from Columbia University and my JD from UC Davis School of Law. I specialize in drafting, reviewing, and litigating contracts, general civil litigation, restraining orders, and family law. I have helped entrepreneurs form their business entities and grow their small businesses. This area of my practice has focused heavily on YouTubers, podcasters, and individuals creating unique online platforms. In the family law context, I have helped my clients petition for and obtain custody of their children and modify existing custody arrangements.

Janice K. on ContractsCounsel
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5.0 (4)
Member Since:
August 30, 2023

Janice K.

Counselor
Free Consultation
Washington
22 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA WA
Empire College School of Law, Santa Rosa, CA

Twenty-plus years experience in family law, employment law, public agency law, federal, state and local contracts drafting and review, appellate practice.

David B. on ContractsCounsel
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5.0 (25)
Member Since:
September 5, 2023

David B.

Senior Transactional Counsel
Free Consultation
SF Bay Area
28 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
University of San Diego

Seasoned transactional attorney with extensive experience in the life sciences / medical device / pharmaceutical industries. Skilled at providing actionable legal advice that balances risk and reward.

Chris D. on ContractsCounsel
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5.0 (10)
Member Since:
September 11, 2023

Chris D.

Family, Estate, and Contracts Lawyer
Free Consultation
Los Angeles. California
16 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Southwestern Law School

With over 15 years of legal experience, I was admitted to the bar in 2008 and have since cultivated a diverse legal background. My expertise spans family law, estate planning, healthcare regulatory matters, and business law. I have a particular knack for crafting meticulous contracts. My approach is client-centric, ensuring that every individual receives personalized, knowledgeable guidance tailored to their unique situation. Partner with me, and let's navigate the complexities of the law together. www.downslawla.com

Christopher L. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
August 12, 2023

Christopher L.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Los Angeles, CA
10 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA NY
Yale Law School

Christopher M. Lapinig is an experienced attorney, admitted to practice in California and New York, with extensive experience in civil litigation at the trial and appellate levels in various areas of the law, including, but not limited to, constitutional law, labor and employment, and consumer protection. He also has experience in immigration law and with administrative wage-and-hour claims. Chris currently works in impact litigation, and he also teaches legal writing at the University of Southern California. Chris also has significant experience in journalism and lay writing; his work has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, and other prominent media outlets. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Chris previously served as a Deputy Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Section at the California Department of Justice. He also served as a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney in the Impact Litigation Unit at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, where his work focused on providing holistic and culturally sensitive legal services to victims and survivors of human trafficking in the Filipino community. At Advancing Justice-LA, Chris also litigated voting rights and immigrant rights cases. At the beginning of his legal career, Chris served as a law clerk to the Honorable Denny Chin of United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was the first Filipino American Clerk for the Honorable Lorna G. Schofield of United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the first federal Article III judge of Filipino descent in United States history. Chris was also a Fulbright Research Scholar in the Philippines. A Phi Beta Kappa member, Chris graduated summa cum laude from Yale College and earned a B.A. with Distinction in Linguistics and with Distinction in Ethnicity, Race and Migration. In college, Chris served as President of Kasama: The Filipino Club at Yale, Moderator of the Asian American Students Alliance, and Head Coordinator of the Asian American Cultural Center. Chris returned to Yale for law school and received his J.D. in 2013. In law school, Chris served as the Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, the Co-Coordinator of the Critical Race Theory Conference, the inaugural Diversity Editor of the Yale Law Journal, and the Founding Coordinator of the Alliance for Diversity. He was a member of the Worker and Immigrant Rights’ Advocacy Clinic.

Jeffrey J. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
September 2, 2023

Jeffrey J.

Business Lawyer
Free Consultation
El Dorado Hills
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Lincoln Law School

I have been in business development for 15 years before becoming an attorney. As an attorney, I help companies navigate legal challenges that they face.

Richard P. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
August 19, 2023

Richard P.

Intellectual Property and Privacy Attorney
Free Consultation
Roseville, CA
7 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
San Joaquin College of Law

I’m passionate about IP, AI, privacy and business. Learning to code. Book some time to discuss how I can add value to your project. Hablo Español y português.

Eddy M. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
August 30, 2023

Eddy M.

Business Lawyer
Free Consultation
San Diego and Taipei
30 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
University of Michigan Law School

I'm a seasoned corporate lawyer with industry expertise in online games, media & entertainment and general commercial matters, gained from servicing clients from seed-stage startups to multi-nationals. I started my career at a Wall Street law firm before moving to in-house roles with media, tech and gaming companies. I also have management experience in building and managing teams and businesses. In these different roles, I have worked and am an expert on multi-million dollar transactions for large companies (M&A, joint ventures) as well as routine day-to-day matters for small businesses (NDAs, vendor services agreements, commercial leases, employment contracts). But no matter the size of the company or project, the constants that I bring to every project are to provide outstanding client service, find practical solutions, and abide by the highest standards of ethics and integrity.

Michael C. on ContractsCounsel
View Michael
Member Since:
September 6, 2023

Michael C.

self employed
Free Consultation
Sacramento area
43 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Lincoln School of Law

40+ years handling litigation matters for employers and employees, defense and prosecution of personal injury matters, CalOsha defense, prepare employment contracts, non-compete clauses, established drug policies and franchise agreements. represented banks in commercial litigation , asset retrieval matters. conducted audits of insurance company claims on behalf of employers, defended contractors in toxic tort cases, handled appeals to the insurance commissioner on workers compensation rate classification matters

Peter H. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
September 6, 2023

Peter H.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Los Angeles, California
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Loyola Law School

Haber Law Firm, APC, is a transactional business law firm with a focus on small/mid-market business purchases and sales, outside general counsel, and start-up assistance for businesses in their early stages. Peter Haber started Haber Law Firm, APC after several years as a legal executive at Popcornopolis, a gourmet popcorn brand sold at groceries and stadiums nationwide. In this role, Peter served as the company’s sole in-house legal advisor as it related to all functions of the company’s operations, including dispute resolution, compliance, and employment law, to name a few. With his help and guidance, the company relocated its entire corporate and manufacturing operation, developed a new factory and warehouse, and was successfully acquired by private equity. Prior to this, Peter was a litigator and business attorney with distinguished Los Angeles litigation boutiques. Such matters included the representation of numerous businesses in litigation and in the resolution of pre-litigation disputes as well as the representation of professionals in liability defense matters, including hospitals, physicians, and brokers.

Gina S. on ContractsCounsel
View Gina
Member Since:
October 5, 2023

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Startup Legal Questions and Answers

Startup

Convertible Note

California

Asked on Jul 30, 2023

Convertible note vs. equity financing?

I am an entrepreneur and I am in the process of raising capital for my startup. I am considering both convertible note and equity financing options and am trying to decide which one is best suited for my company. I need to understand the key differences between the two options to make an informed decision.

Thaddeus W.

Answered Sep 8, 2023

Good question. Convertible notes (as well as SAFE's, discussed below) differ from equity in several respects. The most fundamental difference is that a convertible note is debt. A second major difference is that, although the note is debt, its terms include the noteholder's right to acquire an equity position in the future; if a certain event later occurs (defined in the note, but typically the sale of preferred stock to a future investor (e.g. a venture capital firm), but also a sale of the company can have a similar effect), this will trigger the note to convert into equity and the note is "satisfied" ... that is, the debt is extinguished when the note converts and the holder thereby becomes an equity holder (typically coming to own shares of preferred stock very similar to that issued to the future investors in that triggering event). These two differences are related to a third. A convertible note is often issued without a valuation of the company. For example, when a startup business has no operating history, it is impossible for the startup founders or the investor to decide what the company is worth. Equity cannot be issued for a fair market value (FMV), since there is no basis to determine what the FMV is. A convertible note resolves that by giving the investor (the note holder) the right to convert the note into equity later on, when another investor and the company can agree on a company valuation. In other words, the convertible note allows the company to "kick the can (of valuation) down the road" to be dealt with at another time. But, since a convertible note is debt, is has a repayment provision, and normally carries interest. This means that the note is carried on the company's balance sheet as debt, and presents the company with the future obligation to repay the note if a conversion event has not happened before the note's maturity date. So, SAFE's are often used, especially now that they have become so familiar to investors. (SAFE stands for Simple Agreement for Future Equity). Essentially, as SAFE is a convertible note without the debt features. A SAFE carries no interest and does not have to be repaid. The investor in a SAFE will normally be sophisticated and able to assess the chances the company will do well enough for a conversion event (the issuance of preferred stock, or a sale of the company) to result in the investor's SAFE converting, and thus give the investor comfort that would otherwise be lacking in an instrument that has no repayment obligation. Like a convertible note, a SAFE kicks the can of valuation down the road, where a valuation can later be determined by the company and a future investor. Founders should exercise caution in issuing convertible notes or SAFE's. Among other reasons, founders commonly do not appreciate the impact that convertible notes or SAFE's can have on the founders' own ownership. Convertible notes and SAFE's often include a feature called a "valuation cap." This can result in surprising dilution, as well as the issuance of equity to the converting note or SAFE holder at what is effectively a very low price per share, costing the company far more than the founders may have expected. Also, notes and SAFE's with very similar, but different, terms can result in a complicated capitalization table, making negotiations with venture capital firms later on more difficult, an equity transaction more complex, and thus the process more time-consuming and (therefore) more expensive.

Read 1 attorney answer>

Startup

Terms Sheet

California

Asked on Mar 30, 2021

What are the most important things to look at in a term sheet?

I am expecting to get a few term sheets from investors in the next month. I want to know what I should be looking for.

Ramsey T.

Answered Mar 30, 2021

Every term in a term sheet, by definition is important. A term sheet is a summary of the most important parts of a "deal" - a way of getting to and negotiating the hear of the deal before filling in the gaps with boilerplate. Therefore, you should make sure that you understand all of what has been proposed and negotiated in the term sheet - even the provision that don't seem that important - because they wouldn't be in the term sheet if they weren't a key term to one side or the other.

Read 1 attorney answer>

Startup

LLC

Texas

Asked on May 24, 2023

LLC tax advantages?

I recently started a small business and am considering forming a limited liability company (LLC). I understand that LLCs provide certain protections for business owners, but I am not clear on the tax advantages of an LLC. I would like to know what kind of tax benefits I could expect if I form an LLC.

Jimmy V.

Answered May 30, 2023

LLCs are "pass-through" entities for tax purposes. In other words, there is no income tax due on the company level. The distributions "pass through" to you and you report them on your personal tax return. This prevents double taxation.

Read 1 attorney answer>

Startup

LLC

Illinois

Asked on Aug 8, 2023

LLC and management structure?

I am in the process of starting a business and am considering forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC). I want to understand the management structure of an LLC and how it works in practice. I am interested in how the management structure can help protect me from personal liability, and how it can provide a framework for decision-making and dispute resolution.

Talin H.

Answered Aug 25, 2023

Hi, congrats on starting a business! You're asking all of the right questions. The short answer is that your LLC operating agreement can spell out in as much detail as you want what decisions the Manager of the LLC is free to make on their own, and what decisions require a vote from the other Members. You can also elect to have a multi-manager LLC, in which each Manager is responsible for different aspects of the business, such as day-to-day operations versus overall business strategy versus capital raising. Again, each one of these Manager roles can specifically delineate what decisions and actions the Manager can take automatically, without other Members' prior approval. I specialize in business and corporate transactions and have drafted 100s of LLC operating agreements. I would be delighted to help you. Please reach out at talin@hitiklaw.com or call my office at (312)685-2292.

Read 1 attorney answer>

Startup

Equity Agreement

Massachusetts

Asked on Oct 25, 2021

What is the best way to receive equity compensation for work as a consultant?

I work as a fractional CFO to startup companies providing monthly services for a fixed fee. I'm looking to put in place an agreement where I receive a fixed rate of cash compensation each month, along with a fixed dollar rate of equity compensation each month. Given that these are startups, the valuation is generally not known at the time of the agreement. What is the best way to structure this arangement?

Moss S.

Answered Nov 30, 2021

It is always difficult to set a fair compensation package when a valuation of a company for equity purposes is unknown. Normally when funding a startup company, investors are given a valuation for their investment should the company be successful. If this is not ascertainable, I would suggest setting forth certain milestones of the amount of time expended and relate that to a percentage of equity in the company.

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