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Meet some of our Washington Startup Lawyers

Jason P. on ContractsCounsel
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5.0 (5)
Member Since:
December 1, 2022

Jason P.

Business Lawyer
Free Consultation
Portland, OR
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in OR, WA
Lewis & Clark Law School

Jason is a self-starting, go-getting lawyer who takes a pragmatic approach to helping his clients. He co-founded Fortify Law because he was not satisfied with the traditional approach to providing legal services. He firmly believes that legal costs should be predictable, transparent and value-driven. Jason’s entrepreneurial mindset enables him to better understand his clients’ needs. His first taste of entrepreneurship came from an early age when he helped manage his family’s small free range cattle farm. Every morning, before school, he would deliver hay to a herd of 50 hungry cows. In addition, he was responsible for sweeping "the shop" at his parent's 40-employee HVAC business. Before becoming a lawyer, he clerked at the Lewis & Clark Small Business Legal Clinic where he handled a diverse range of legal issues including establishing new businesses, registering trademarks, and drafting contracts. He also spent time working with the in-house team at adidas® where, among other things, he reviewed and negotiated complex agreements and created training materials for employees. He also previously worked with Meriwether Group, a Portland-based business consulting firm focused on accelerating the growth of disruptive consumer brands and facilitating founder exits. These experiences have enabled Jason to not only understand the unique legal hurdles that can threaten a business, but also help position them for growth. Jason's practice focuses on Business and Intellectual Property Law, including: ​ -Reviewing and negotiating contracts -Resolving internal corporate disputes -Creating employment and HR policies -Registering and protecting intellectual property -Forming new businesses and subsidiaries -Facilitating Business mergers, acquisitions, and exit strategies -Conducting international business transactions ​​ In his free time, Jason is an adventure junkie and gear-head. He especially enjoys backpacking, kayaking, and snowboarding. He is also a technology enthusiast, craft beer connoisseur, and avid soccer player.

James M. on ContractsCounsel
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5.0 (1)
Member Since:
January 4, 2023

James M.

Owner/Founder
Free Consultation
Boise, Idaho
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, ID, NV, OR, WA
Stanford Law School

Reproductive law attorney focused on reviewing surrogacy contracts and sperm/egg/embryo donation contracts.

Curt B. on ContractsCounsel
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5.0 (3)
Member Since:
March 25, 2023

Curt B.

Managing Partner
Free Consultation
Los Angeles, California
10 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, DC, FL, IL, MI
UCLA School of Law

Curt Brown has experience advising clients on a variety of franchising, business litigation, transactional, and securities law matters. Mr. Brown's accolades include: - Super Lawyers Rising Star - California Lawyer of the Year by The Daily Journal - Pro Bono Attorney of the Year the USC Public Interest Law Fund Curt started his legal career in the Los Angeles office of the prestigious firm of Irell & Manella LLP, where his practice focused on a wide variety of complex civil litigation matters, including securities litigation, antitrust, trademark, bankruptcy, and class action defense. Mr. Brown also has experience advising mergers and acquisitions and international companies concerning cyber liability and class action defense. He is admitted in California, Florida, D.C., Washington, Illinois, Colorado, and Michigan.

Merry A. on ContractsCounsel
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5.0 (10)
Member Since:
July 26, 2023

Merry A.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Lakebay, WA
38 Yrs Experience
Licensed in WA
Seattle University School of Law (formerly UPS School of Law) Juris Doctorate

Merry Kogut is a licensed attorney based in Washington State who has been a legal expert on JustAnswer since 2008 specializing in employment law, consumer protection and discrimination issues. She has been an attorney handling WA State phone consultations for Arag Legal Insurance since April, 2023. She has also been an attorney in private practice since 1986, and was in-house legal counsel for multiple WA State government agencies. She brings nearly 50 years combined legal and professional writing experience. Earlier in her career, Merry served as a law clerk for the Washington State Court of Appeals, and as a discrimination specialist, investigator and legislative liaison. She also helped establish the “Legal Writing Institute,” a national association of legal writing instructors and administrators. Merry earned her law degree from the Seattle University (formerly University of Puget Sound) School of Law.

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.

Joon H. on ContractsCounsel
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4.9 (5)
Member Since:
June 28, 2023

Joon H.

Managing Attorney
Free Consultation
Washington State
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in WA
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

I work with private tech companies on entity formation, corporate governance, and commercial agreements. I was an in-house counsel for a unicorn fintech startup and am currently associated with a startup boutique while operating my solo practice. I received my JD from Berkeley Law, and served in the US Navy for 5 years as a combat linguist. I am fluent in Korean.

Eleanor W. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
July 3, 2023

Eleanor W.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Bellevue, WA
12 Yrs Experience
Licensed in WA
Seattle University School of Law

I have been working as a document review attorney since 2011. I have also done some business and estate planning work. I am fluent in English, Chinese, French, and Japanese.

Diamond R. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
July 30, 2023

Diamond R.

Attorney
Free Consultation
Houston, Texas
1 Yr Experience
Licensed in DC, NY, WA
Wayne State University

July 29, 2023 My name is Diamond Simpson Roberts, ESQ, MSPH and I am convinced that I can be a value added asset to most any company. As the first in my family to graduate a four-year university, I graduated from Wayne State University Law School in 2000 but could not afford a bar prep course upon completion. After over 20 years, I sat for the July 2022 UBE, successfully passed and am currently licensed in three states! This is an example of my self-motivation, internal drive and passion. I offer over 28 years of diverse experience in healthcare, strategy, sales/marketing, legal/policy and business savvy. I have many years building, leveraging, and sustaining long term relations to drive revenue as an entrepreneur and for corporations. My analytical strengths provide me with an innate ability to think through tough situations/topics while viewing both vantage points (which is excellent for law and life). I have been appointed to serve on numerous committees due to my heightened ability to identify client issues and priorities and provide solutions based upon relevant products, services and needs. I have led teams with and without authority; specifically, I have managed teams for an Adult Foster Care Facility called Etonne Cares, during my post-graduate fellowship with the largest Catholic Healthcare System in the U.S. and during my two-year executive order appointment with the Federal Government (Presidential Management Fellowship). Most importantly, I am a collaborative team player who knows how to improvise, overcome and adapt! I offer numerous years of being a pharmaceutical trainer and being an adjunct using the online platform. I welcome the opportunity to continue in the interview so that I may further highlight the skills I can (and will) contribute to my success in the role. Respectfully, Diamond Simpson Roberts, ESQ, MSPH DQSSIMPSON@GMAIL.COM M: 313-942-6747

Daniel W. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
July 31, 2023

Daniel W.

Principal Attorney
Free Consultation
Gallup, New Mexico
14 Yrs Experience
Licensed in ID, NM, WA
Seattle University School of Law

In my thirteen years of practice, I've had the opportunity to argue cases in state, federal, and tribal courts; in subjects as diverse as gaming, land tenure, water rights, treaty rights, finance, employment, criminal defense, conflict of laws, and tort (among others). But the real value I brought my clients came through avoiding litigation, fostering relationships, and developing long-term strategies.

Wilberforce A. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
September 22, 2023

Wilberforce A.

Supervising Attorney
Free Consultation
Baltimore, Maryland
17 Yrs Experience
Licensed in WA
Seattle University

Wilberforce Agyekum is an attorney with 16 years of experience practicing in areas of contracts, immigration, and criminal law. Wilberforce received a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington Adventist University, and Juris Doctorate from Seattle University School of Law.

McCoy S. on ContractsCounsel
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Member Since:
December 4, 2023

McCoy S.

Founding Attorney
Free Consultation
Portland, Oregon
33 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA, NY, OR, WA
University of Virginia

P. McCoy Smith is the Founding Attorney at Lex Pan Law LLC, a full-service technology and intellectual property law firm based in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A and Opsequio LLC, an open source compliance consultancy. Prior to his current position, he spent 20 years in the legal department of a Fortune 50 multinational technology company as a business unit intellectual property specialist; among his duties was setting up the free & open source legal function and policies for that company. He preceded his in-house experience with 8 years in private practice in a large New York City-based boutique intellectual property law firm, working simultaneously as a U.S. patent litigator and U.S. patent prosecutor. He was also a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office prior to attending law school. He is licensed to practice law in Oregon, California & New York and to prosecute patent applications in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office; he is also a registered Trademark and Patent Agent with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. He has degrees from Colorado State University (Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, with honors), Johns Hopkins University (Masters of Liberal Arts) and the University of Virginia (Juris Doctor). While in private practice, and continuing into his in-house career, he taught portions of the U.S. patent bar exam for a long-standing and well-known patent bar exam preparation course, and from 2014-2020 was on the editorial board of the Journal of Open Law, Technology & Society (JOLTS), and starting in 2023 will be on the editorial board of the American Intellectual Property Law Quarterly Journal (AIPLAQJ). He is the author or co-author of chapters on open source and copyright and patents in “Open Source Law, Policy & Practice” (2022, Oxford University Press). He lectures frequently around the world on free and open source issues as well as other intellectual property topics.

Adam T. on ContractsCounsel
View Adam
Member Since:
December 7, 2023

Adam T.

Business Lawyer
Free Consultation
Seattle, Washington
12 Yrs Experience
Licensed in DC, NC, NY, WA
Duke Law

Legal professional with 10+ years of Fortune 500 in-house and AmLaw 50 law firm experience in crafting multi-pronged litigation, regulatory, and public policy strategies and negotiating pioneering, high-stakes global cloud services and digital content distribution deals.

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Startup Legal Questions and Answers

Startup

C Corp

Ohio

Asked on May 22, 2023

C corp and equity dilution?

I am an entrepreneur who is in the process of forming a C Corp. I am looking to raise capital to fund my business and I am considering issuing equity to potential investors. I am concerned that issuing equity to investors could lead to dilution of my ownership, so I am looking for legal advice on the best way to structure my equity offerings to minimize dilution.

Paul S.

Answered Jun 23, 2023

If you want to avoid dilution, then you need to fund the business with your own resources, and pay all your workers with money rather than equity. Otherwise, when building a business, dilution is simply a reality you have to live with. You can start out with a large amount of ownership, for example, 80% of the authorized shares, but over time dilution is inevitable. Which would you rather have, 90% of a company worth $200,000, or 55% of a company worth $1 million?

Read 1 attorney answer>

Startup

Convertible Note

New York

Asked on Mar 30, 2021

Do startups use convertible notes?

I am working to figure out what I should use for a group of investors I am speaking to about my startup. We're a technology company that is very early on. We want to raise a bit of money so we can further develop our software and pay the founders.

Ramsey T.

Answered Mar 30, 2021

Start-ups do raise capital through the use of Convertible Notes. Convertible Notes are starting to fade as the preferred sort of convertible instrument for start-ups and as SAFES become more prevalent. Convertible Notes are still quite common in more "traditional" start-up industries, such as those that involve real estate, manufacturing and other legacy industries.

Read 1 attorney answer>

Startup

Convertible Note

Ohio

Asked on May 20, 2023

Convertible note interest rate?

I am a tech startup founder and am considering raising capital through a convertible note. I am interested in finding out what the typical interest rate is for these types of investments. I understand that the rate can vary, but I am looking for a general range of what I can expect.

Paul S.

Answered May 23, 2023

Generally the rate is pretty low - for example, 5% is what I've used over the years, with little pushback. Keep in mind, investors don't do convertible notes for the interest income, they do them for the upside from converting into preferred stock with liquidation preferences, anti-dilution protection, etc. If a potential investor is really focused on the interest rate, that tells you that the investor has little or no experience investing in startups. Also, regarding the interest in general, it typically just accrues, rather than being paid out each year. When interest accrues for more than a year, the startup can claim the amount of accrued interest as an expense on its P&L and taxes, and the investor should recognize the amount of accrued interest as interest income, even if it hasn't been paid out.

Read 1 attorney answer>

Startup

Shareholders Agreement

Ohio

Asked on Jun 12, 2023

How to track shareholders agreements?

I am a business owner and I have recently incorporated my business. As part of the incorporation process, I have created a shareholders agreement with my co-founders. I am looking to ensure that this agreement is properly tracked, documented, and monitored over time. I am seeking guidance on the best methods to track shareholders agreements and any advice on how to ensure the agreement is being followed.

Paul S.

Answered Jun 23, 2023

There are cap table management companies such as Carta and Pulley, that can help with this (for a fee). As long as your company has only issued common stock, maintaining a cap table and stock ledger in Excel is more than adequate. I also recommend storing PDFs of the stock purchase agreements in a cloud-based folder labeled "Stock Purchase Agreements." In terms of officer roles, the corporation's Secretary is responsible for maintaining these shareholder records.

Read 1 attorney answer>

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.

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