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The Entrepreneur’s Library: Legal Issues & Resources for Startups

Legal Resources & Issues

Websites & Articles


Entrepreneurial law blog (blawg) of Pittsburgh strategic business and technology attorney Anthony Cerminaro. Site focuses on small business, venture capital, entrepreneurship, and technology. Also has some links to other worthwhile websites.

Contracts 101: Make a Legally Valid Contract

"Lots of contracts are filled with mind-bending legal gibberish, but there's no reason why this has to be true. For most contracts, legalese is not essential or even helpful. On the contrary, the agreements you'll want to put into a written contract are best expressed in simple, everyday English."

Employment Policies

"These business forms and legal documents were created by attorneys and can be downloaded and customized for your own use. Kits offer deep discounts over purchasing individual forms. Business Guides are in-depth, how-to guides that also provide many useful forms."

FindLaw Contracts

Actual legal contracts used by technology companies. Free.

"Starting and running a small business requires a very broad skill set and nerves of steel. It's not for everyone, and even successful entrepreneurs encounter failure from time to time. In order to help you stay ahead of the curve, FindLaw's Small Business Law section covers everything from obtaining financing and hiring employees, to choosing the right insurance policies and filing taxes. Those who operate small businesses typically wear many different hats, but also must know when and how to seek help from others."

Hiring Fast vs. Hiring Right

This article addresses the idea of using independent contractors to fill needed positions.

Legal Document Templates by UpCounsel

Scores of free templates covering everything from confidentiality agreements to corporate bylaws to patent assignment agreements to convertible note purchase agreements. While you should always have an attorney involved when preparing these documents, these templates can give you a good head start. The site also has a number of very helpful articles covering a range of legal topics.


Customized legal form templates for personal and corporate matters.

LegalZoom Form Library

LegalZoom has an extensive library of business and personal legal forms you can customize yourself.

Navigating China's Visa Problem

Discusses the potential difficulties that have recently been posed to entrepreneurs and businessmen hoping to do business in China, start a business in China, or even open a branch of a currently existing business in China. Specifically discusses the new, more strigent measures in place for obtaining a business visa in China, which now involves months of planning and significant cash. Particularly relevant for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to benefit from China's planned telecom overhaul.


Extensive legal self-help resources, covering both corporate and personal law. Includes forms, a legal encyclopedia and dictionary, case law, state and federal codes, and much more.

Running a Corporation: Keeping the Minutes

Failure to follow corporate formalities or to keep adequate records and minutes of meetings can result in the loss of your limited liability status.

Startup Company Lawyer

An overview of legal issues facing entrepreneurs, created by an attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Read this before you talk to your attorney so that your attorney doesn't have to spend a lot of time educating you.

Startup Lawyer

This blog is written by Ryan Roberts, an attorney specializing in startup matters. He writes about "the legal issues involved in a startup’s lifecycle, including incorporation, funding, stock options, venture capital, etc.," among other things.

Top Ten Legal Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs

"The life of a startup can be precarious, a wrong turn disastrous. Harvard Business School professor Constance Bagley discusses the most frequent legal flops made by entrepreneurs, everything from hiring the wrong lawyer to puffing up the business plan."


UpCounsel is essentially TaskRabbit (or for legal services: you post your requirements, and UpCounsel will obtain proposals from "top-rated and highly experienced attorneys" within hours.

When You Can Legally Fire Employees

"When you can legally fire employees isn't an easy question to answer. Laws and cases have become increasingly protective of employees."

Recommended Books

Business Plan Book - The Entrepreneur's Guide to Business Law, 4th Edition

The Entrepreneur's Guide to Business Law, 4th Edition
Constance E. Bagley and Craig E. Dauchy

A comprehensive, plain-English overview of the major legal issues that entrepreneurs need to be aware of. The time you invest in reading this book will pay for itself many times by helping you avoid common mistakes and better utilize your attorney's time. (Paid link)

Disclaimer: Inclusion in this directory does not constitute an endorsement. The materials linked to from this page are copyrighted to their respective owners.
FTC Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links, Cayenne Consulting will receive a small commission. We are dedicated to finding the best resources for entrepreneurs and we never recommend something we wouldn’t use for our own business.

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