Advise and advise business team leaders on all legal issues affecting the candidate`s coverage areas, in consultation with the legal team and. “Don`t ask me what your career path will be,” he says. “Growth opportunities for our team stem from the company`s goals – our team will grow professionally by helping the company succeed.” Beser also cautions: “If you`re in a company and think you`d like to work in a startup, you need to take stock of your personal comfort with risk. A high tolerance for risk is a prerequisite for anyone entering this environment, as start-ups grow rapidly, each decision has a variety of implications, and your career trajectory may not be as linear as expected. One of the main attractions of moving to a startup law firm is the prospect of developing the skills and network that can enable the transition to an internal role in a budding startup. Space companies recognize this reality, as Gandhi notes: “Most lawyers who come to startup law firms don`t want to be law firm lawyers forever. For the most part, it is a stepping stone, and we are aware of that. In addition to equity incentives that could bring dynastic prosperity if the business is a resounding success, venture-backed startups can provide an environment where the corporate lawyer is not just a document or risk mitigation manager, but a true strategic partner to the management team and a wearer of many hats. “I think the work we can do is one of the most interesting and exciting there is.” Len Gray, who founded a boutique firm that specializes in representing start-ups, agrees: “You have to be really balanced in a variety of areas to be successful in this practice, and you also have to be very good at customer service. It would certainly be helpful to be a senior M&A lawyer at a large law firm, but working with early-stage clients requires different skills. Gray, who began his career as an M&A lawyer at Latham & Watkins, adds: “Most of my work is actually like a corporate psychologist, and sometimes I feel like only 5% of that is actually legal work. The breadth and depth of advice you are asked for is so different from what institutional clients expect from a large company. But the main reason to go to a law startup firm, Burke continues, is to gain a deep understanding of the ecosystem, which companies are most likely to succeed and why.
“If you try to get into the startup ecosystem from the outside, you`re going to fly blind,” Burke says. “You go to a startup law firm to learn about the ecosystem, and if you decide to go in-house, you can make a much more informed decision if you put all your eggs in a company`s basket.” Beser agrees: “If you understand the ecosystem enough to know what a good opportunity looks like, you can`t emphasize its importance enough. Gandhi learned this lesson the hard way: “I switched to a startup, I didn`t really have enough information, and then when things got worse, I kept getting pay cuts because of a bad salary. It`s important to look before you jump. Given the incredible competitiveness of cross-filing with the best startup-focused law firms, chances are you answered yes. “Startup law firms have a choice outside the throne when it comes to fullbacks, hiring candidates primarily from best corporate practices.” That`s according to Sean Burke, founder of Whistler Partners, a recruitment firm focused on the emerging venture capital and corporate sector. Burke is a lawyer himself, but he also has experience in start-ups, which puts him in a position to advise anyone with an eye on the field. Together, Whistler recruiters worked with hundreds/thousands of these lawyers. So what is it about this area that in-house lawyers find so appealing? Josh Beser is General Counsel of Away, a venture-backed high-flying travel brand.
He was the company`s first lawyer and tells us: “At various points in my tenure, I have helped set up the HR function, led real estate, IT and information security teams, and we are also in the process of building a business compliance function. In addition to starting and growing the legal department, part of GC`s role was to build multiple branches of the business from scratch to something that can be handed over to an expert. These dynamic responsibilities require the in-house legal department to be agile and proactive. Salil Gandhi, an emerging corporate partner at Goodwin Procter in New York, describes it this way: “Startup lawyers act as external general counsel for high-growth startups throughout their lifecycle. Day-to-day operations mean “advising early-stage clients throughout the incorporation process and raising capital from angel investors and venture capital, advising on legal and business issues that arise as companies grow and develop, and ultimately helping them sell the business or take the company public as part of an IPO.” Gandhi`s practice is primarily to represent start-ups themselves, but he also represents venture capital (VC) funds when they invest in startups. If you can live with some risk, the rewards can be great. As Beser says, “I think the work we can do is one of the most interesting and exciting legal work out there. For people who want to make high-level, impactful decisions (not just advisory recommendations) and enjoy working on legal, legal, and in many cases, non-legal issues, working on a team like ours can be one of the best legal jobs.
“If you try to enter the startup ecosystem from the outside, you`re going to fly blindly. You go to a startup law firm to learn about the ecosystem. “Most lateral entrants who come to startup law firms don`t want to be law firm lawyers forever. For the most part, it is a stepping stone, and we are aware of that. “We often find that candidates who have seen this world from the inside – or at least represented companies from the outside during our growth phase – better understand the complexity of startups.” Beser also cautions against jumping into a start-up GC role too early in your career (even if the opportunity arises): “Many Grade 5 employees think they`re ready to become a GC. I certainly did, and I was absolutely wrong. As we continue to grow our team at Away, we have seen a tendency to pride among candidates with no directly relevant experience. We often find that candidates who have seen this world from the inside – or at least represented companies from the outside during our growth phase – better understand the complexity of startups. “To succeed as a startup advocate, you have to be a mile wide and an inch deep – a true generalist. While there are highly specialized aspects of practice (such as understanding venture capital transaction terms and startup market conventions), a startup lawyer requires at least some practical knowledge in various areas of law, including taxation, employment law, compensation, intellectual property, commercial law, corporate law and securities regulation. As Gandhi says, “In many ways, to be successful as a startup lawyer, you have to be a mile wide and an inch deep – a true generalist.
In fact, risk tolerance may be a good reason for Gandhi to stay with a company instead of jumping internally: “If you plan to decide to go through the prism of in-house portfolio management, you have a diversified portfolio with a company – if a start-up client goes bankrupt, It`s not the end of the world. If you go in-house, you`re just making a risky bet now. Beser adds, “You need to have a real bowel exam. Lawyers think they just need more cash to offset the risk of startup failure, but they don`t fully internalize the risks. I wish I had internalized that lack of diversification and risk tolerance when I decided to go internal, because it becomes very real when you live and have a mortgage. As start-ups grow, in-house counsel play an evolving and increasingly critical role as the possibility of a legal quagmire inevitably increases. When Away faced a potential FAA regulatory issue that banned lithium-ion batteries from airplanes, Beser was at the center of solving the problem. “As a lawyer, I was the person in the company who best understood the rule changes and could help transfer them to the company.” Beser adds, “People often think it`s binary: they`re either lawyers or on the business side, and one is somehow better than the other.