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.
"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."
"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."
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."
This article addresses the idea of using independent contractors to fill needed positions.
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.
Purchase legal form templates for personal and corporate matters. Well organized, but similar resources are available elsewhere for free.
LegalZoom has an extensive library of business and personal legal forms you can customize yourself.
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.
Failure to follow corporate formalities or to keep adequate records and minutes of meetings can result in the loss of your limited liability status.
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.
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.
"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 Guru.com) 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 isn't an easy question to answer. Laws and cases have become increasingly protective of employees."
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)
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