how much does a startup lawyer cost

by Dr. Houston Rodriguez Jr. 8 min read

The cost of a startup lawyer can range anywhere from a $50 fixed fee on an online legal service to over $1,000 per hour for a senior partner from a prestigious law firm. Cost can be a major deterrent in hiring a startup lawyer, so it's important to find out upfront how much you will be expected to pay your attorney.

How much do startup legal fees cost?

 · Guy Kawasaki provides us with a real-world example of how much startup legal fees may run. Guy paid $4,824.13 in legal fees when he started Truemors. And his legal fees included the following: -Trademarking Truemors. -Drafting a Terms of Use. -Discussion of copyright, liability, infringement, IP, and insurance issues.

Is it worth it to hire a lawyer for a startup?

 · As mentioned, the most common fee for small business lawyers is an hourly fee. Most attorneys charge from $150 to $325 an hour. Remember that this number can change, depending on the location and the lawyer's experience. Larger cities, such as San Francisco and New York, may charge upwards of $1,000 per hour.

How much does a small business lawyer cost?

 · The cost of a startup lawyer can range anywhere from a $50 fixed fee on an online legal service to over $1,000 per hour for a senior partner …

How do I find a startup lawyer?

The lawyers most start-ups will deal with are likely in the $350-$800 an hour range, but this varies from firm to firm, obviously. Most big firms bill in increments of six minutes (i.e., 0.1 of an hour), but some charge in 0.25 hour increments. The range for hourly rates is huge.


Flat rates

Lawyers may charge a flat fee for services associated with starting a small business when they can confidently estimate how long the project will t...

Level of Service

Legal fees for startup services will vary based on the level of service you need and how complicated your new business model will be, says Simon wi...

LLCs, sole proprietorships and partnerships

Most small businesses are LLCs, sole proprietorships or partnerships. It’s important to consult with an attorney about what you file as and what yo...

Registered agents

Many lawyers will act as the registered agent for their client once that business is registered with the Department of State, says Kannard of Law...

What is a good startup lawyer?

A good startup lawyer is more than a lawyer. They are also a close advisor and confidante as you’re trying to grow your business. Here are some of the important steps that startup lawyers can help you with: Deciding how to structure your new business.

How much does a lawyer cost?

The cost of a startup lawyer can range anywhere from a $50 fixed fee on an online legal service to over $1,000 per hour for a senior partner from a prestigious law firm.

Who can walk you through closing a business loan?

Obtaining a business loan: Your loan specialist, lender and accountant can typically walk you through everything you need to know when closing on a business loan.

What happens if you have multiple lawyers?

If multiple people are involved, it can increase the time it takes to handle your case and, subsequently, can increase your final bill. So, make sure you understand what work the lawyer will do and what work the lawyer will delegate.

How to sort through lawyers in zip code?

Just need help sorting through the lawyers in your zip code? Try a site like Avvo, which hosts the largest lawyer directory online. You can sort through lawyers based on location, areas of expertise, years of experience and rating.

What are some good websites to find a lawyer for a startup?

Services like LegalMatch and UpCounsel will match you to the best startup lawyers located near your business. These sites are a great way to find attorneys who can help you through complicated legal concerns.

What is a free initial consultation?

Some lawyers offer a free initial consultation during which you can introduce your business and evaluate if the lawyer is a good fit for you. During the consultation, the lawyer should give you an overview of how they plan to help your business.

How much does a lawyer cost?

If you work with a lawyer, you can probably expect to pay between $2,000 and $5,000, though some firms will give discounts that get the cost below that. This can vary depending on complexity: how many founders, what “bells and whistles” will be included, whether you are doing an LLC or a corporation, and how you handle certain items, such as stock option plans, and so on.

Why do start ups need lawyers?

At the most basic level, start-ups need lawyers to help them deal with three groups: The government. You don’t want to violate laws. You also need to be sure you are doing business in a way that doesn’t create unnecessary tax liability and that you pay the taxes you owe. Third parties and the public.

Who is Steve Kaplan?

Steve Kaplan, attorney at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, practices in the areas of venture capital and private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and other commercial transactions. He focuses on a wide range of industry sectors including, software, web-based companies, life sciences, information technology, and government contractors.

What is an LLC?

Establishing a business entity of some sort ( LLC or corporation) to protect you personally from business liabilities

When do you need to establish rights and expectations of the founders?

Each other. When multiple people form a company together, it’s best to establish the rights and expectations of the founders upfront in case there are disagreements down the line.

What happens if a lawyer doesn't speak the language?

First, a lawyer who doesn’t seem to speak the language of your business. If someone doesn’t understand the world in which you are operating, it’s harder for him to adequately represent you.

How much does a lawyer charge per hour?

The lawyers most start-ups will deal with are likely in the $350-$800 an hour range, but this varies from firm to firm, obviously. Most big firms bill in increments of six minutes (i.e., 0.1 of an hour), but some charge in 0.25 hour increments. The range for hourly rates is huge. A junior lawyer at a small firm in a smaller city may charge $150 an hour, while senior partners in big firms in major cities have been known to charge over $1,000 an hour.

What is a small business lawyer?

An attorney who specializes in small business services will ensure everything is legal and aboveboard before you begin — preventing costly future fixes. A small business lawyer will help you legally establish your business entity, establish ownership and equity rights, advise you on the most advantageous tax filing, and much more.

How much does it cost to file a business in Illinois?

This flat fee does not include filing fees charged by the state, which might range from $175 to $750 in Illinois. Filing fees vary by state.

What is legal services?

Legal services included: Structuring and developing a business entity for a $250 million equity offering, structuring the business, drafting all documents and bylaws, and developing an agreement — including preparing all operating agreements and filings, and necessary paperwork to account for multiple investors.

Can a lawyer protect you?

A lawyer can best protect you and your assets . A limited liability corporation (LLC) provides many of the same protections as a corporation (S-corp), says Kannard, although there are still some circumstances where a person could sue the owner directly.

Do lawyers charge hourly?

Lawyers may work on a flat fee for one service or a bundle of services, or they may charge an hourly rate. Lawyers’ rates and fees will always vary based on regional cost factors as well as the lawyer’s experience, so be sure to research the right fit for you. If you’re ready to build a solid foundation for your new business, ...

Do lawyers act as registered agents in Florida?

Many lawyers will act as the registered agent for their client once that business is registered with the Department of State, says Kannard of Law Office of James Kannard. In Florida, companies are required to submit an annual report, which the registered agent can do on your behalf. The registered agent also receives any papers served against the business, so a lawyer in that role is well prepared to deal with that paperwork for you. Kannard of Law Office of James Kannard adds that a registered business is better positioned to file suit against others if necessary.

What is a startup lawyer?

Startup lawyers specialise in assisting startups with all aspects of starting and scaling a high-growth business. Startup lawyers may also work with investors such as venture capital funds and angel investors with the capital raising process. Experienced lawyers will understand the specific needs facing startups compared to traditional businesses, which include employee share schemes, option pools startup structuring and access to funding.

How to find a good startup lawyer?

Researching online is a good way to find the best startup lawyers. If you are looking for help with capital raising, researching on legal news websites such as Lawyers Weekly for deal announcements can indicate a firm’s experience in this area. Law firms that specialise in startups will also win awards in startup-related media (such as LinkedIn Top Startups or the Australian Financial Review Fast 100).

Does LegalVision have a fixed fee?

LegalVision's lawyers maintain a consistently high quality of service and their fixed-fee approach is a breath of fresh air.

Does LegalVision give money back?

As a first time LegalVision client, you receive our Money Back Guarantee. We believe in exceptional client service, so if you aren’t satisfied with the service you receive, we will provide you with a full refund (less any disbursements paid on your behalf).

Is LegalVision a good company?

LegalVision have been amazing for our business as we've continued to grow. Fast turnaround, easy to work with and a smart, pleasant team.

How much do lawyers charge?

The particular hourly rate you pay depends primarily on the experience of the attorney, usually measured in years (the absolute minimum I would suggest you consider is three years), with most solo practitioners charging somewhere between $175 to $300 per hour, boutique firms charging between $300 and $500 per hour, and large firms charging anywhere between $400 (junior associates) to $950 (experienced partners) per hour — though everything in Manhattan is more expensive.

How to keep lawyer fees in check?

Given that background, there are a number of things you can do to help keep your lawyer fees in check: 1. Hire lawyers who have experience with the particular task you are asking them to perform. Most lawyers have a specialty of some sort (however broadly defined) in which they are most adept and therefore efficient.

Do lawyers work with startups?

Most lawyers who work with startups are willing to provide discounts to smaller companies: in the case of large firms, to attract the most well-funded startups; and in the case of smaller firms or solo practitioners, to better serve their primary client type — small, undercapitalized enterprises.

Do lawyers list their practice areas?

Lawyers will generally list their core practice areas on their website , and it is in these areas they are most likely to be proficient. It would be a mistake in my opinion to hire a lawyer to do any work outside the explicitly enumerated practice areas shown on their website.

Do lawyers have to follow trust accounting?

Finally, when it comes to retainer fees, it is helpful to know that lawyers must follow strict trust accounting practices (see Rules of Professional Conduct 4-100; and also Rule 4-200 for attorney fees in general). You can even reference these rules if you ever find yourself in a fee dispute. Remember, too, that government administrative or filing fees (e.g. the cost of filing for a trademark) are always distinct from the fees paid to compensate your lawyer and therefore should be itemized separately on any billing statement you receive.

What percentage of a legal matter is contingency fee?

Contingency fees. While conceptually intriguing to some, contingency fees (usually 30 percent to 40 percent of the amount potentially awarded in a given legal matter, hence the contingency) are not typically relevant for early-stage startups where the goal is generally to avoid litigation. For that reason, I will focus mostly on flat versus hourly fees.

Do you know as much as your lawyer?

You will never know as much as your lawyers do about the legal services they provide to you. It is a classic asymmetry of information, where the party that knows less gets the worse deal. In this c...

How much does an attorney charge per hour?

Attorney fees typically range from $100 to $300 per hour based on experience and specialization. Costs start at $100 per hour for new attorneys, but standard attorney fees for an expert lawyer to handle a complex case can average $225 an hour or more.

How much does it cost to get legal advice?

You won't find a fixed average rate, but you may see discounted attorney consultation fees of $50 to $100 for the first hour. In most cases, you'll need to pay a legal consultation fee before they give you personal advice since every case has so many variables.

How long does it take for a law firm to give you a quote?

A law firm is unlikely to give you an accurate quote until after they've finished working on the case. It's hard to predict how long the procedure can take and which aspects of the case will take more time.

Can a lawyer answer questions for free?

If you get your first meeting with a lawyer for free, then they'll probably only answer questions about the law itself. They're not likely to advise on your particular situation until they take on your case first to learn all the details of your problem.

How to avoid disagreements with your attorney?

Avoid disagreements with your attorney about how much you owe by taking the time to review your attorney fee agreement carefully. You may also hear this document called a retainer agreement, lawyer fee agreement or representation agreement. Either way, most states require evidence of a written fee agreement when handling any disputes between clients and lawyers. You must have written evidence of what you agreed to pay for anyone to hold you accountable for what you have or have not spent.

Why is legal aid more affordable?

Legal aid billing rates are more affordable if the law firm has a sliding-scale payment system so that people only pay for what they can reasonably afford. Seeking out fixed fees in legal aid agencies is the best option for those in desperate need who cannot otherwise pay for a lawyer.

Is it better to have a lawyer without a retainer?

Contrary to rumors, a lawyer who charges a retainer fee is not necessarily better than a lawyer without a retainer. Sometimes lawyers may charge a retainer if they find themselves in high demand. Other lawyers who work more quickly and efficiently may see no need for charging you a retainer fee. Call different lawyers in your area to see if retainers are standard practice for your particular case.

What expenses do clients have to pay for a lawyer?

Clients may also be responsible for paying some of the attorney or law firm’s expenses including: Travel expenses like transportation, food, and lodging; Mail costs, particularly for packages sent return receipt requested, certified, etc; Administrative costs like the paralegal or secretary work.

What are the costs of a lawsuit?

Some common legal fees and costs that are virtually inescapable include: 1 Cost of serving a lawsuit on an opposing party; 2 Cost of filing lawsuit with court; 3 Cost of filing required paperwork, like articles forming a business, with the state; 4 State or local licensing fees; 5 Trademark or copyright filing fees; and 6 Court report and space rental costs for depositions.

Why do attorneys get smaller cut?

For example, the attorney will usually obtain a smaller cut if a settlement was reached before trial – because less time and expense was expended – than if the case goes to trial. When contingency fees are used the fees and costs of the suit are often deducted from the monetary recovery before the percentage is taken.

What is flat rate legal fees?

Flat rate legal fees are when an attorney charges a flat rate for a set legal task. The fee is the same regardless of the number of hours spent or the outcome of the case. Flat rates are increasingly popular and more and more attorneys are willing to offer them to clients.

What is the most common legal fee arrangement?

Hourly rates have traditionally been the most common legal fee arrangement. However, as technology changes and the practice of law evolves, it is more common to see “non-traditional” fee arrangements like flat-fee packages.

How often do attorneys bill?

Attorneys usually bill in 1/10 th of an hour increments, meaning you will be charged 1/10 th of the hourly rate for every 6 minutes the attorney spends on your case. The most common billing frequency is monthly, however, some attorneys will send bills more frequently, others less frequently.

Why do attorneys charge different fees?

Some attorneys charge different amounts for different types of work, billing higher rates for more complex work and lower rates for easier tasks .