090. How To Interview A Startup Lawyer

VC Minute
Does your lawyer know what NVCA stands for and where to find the NVCA standard docs? If not, they're going to make you look like a fool in term sheet negotiations.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.

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Carlos Cruz-Abrams

Something that we often get when people interview us is they’re interviewing us and asking, how much do you charge? And how long is it gonna take?

Those are important questions, right? Those are, those are definitely important questions. You need to know how much money you’re gonna spend and when things will get done.

I don’t think that that’s the way to interview a lawyer. I don’t think that’s the way to interview anyone, but I definitely don’t think that’s the way to interview a lawyer.

I think that people can tell you all sorts of things. And I think that what really matters is what’s the experience? What is the lawyer bringing to the table?

if I were interviewing a lawyer, what would I be asking?

If I’m a tech company that’s thinking about maybe raising money, I need to grow my team. I’m gonna be asking about some industry experience. I’m gonna be asking about VC experience. How many VC backed companies. Do you work with how do you approach working with founders? How do you think about planning for the future for a company?

What experience do you have on exits? Someone’s coming in and forming a company they forget to ask a lawyer, how do they think about exits? Because if you aren’t planning for success from the very beginning, if you aren’t thinking about your exit from the beginning, you’re gonna just pay more money down the line to fix those problems.

What do you spend most of your day doing? And this is why I end up on deals all the time where someone comes in, they said, I hired a lawyer on the other side, and then that person turns out to be a real estate lawyer. Well, that’s great, but this is, a SaaS deal. So what does a real estate lawyer have to do with that?

I get a lot of debt lawyers who send comments back to me on NVCA documents and say, well, you know, these things aren’t market. Ask your lawyer if they know what NVCA documents are. Look up what NVCA documents are if you don’t know what NVCA documents are. Right. The National Venture Capital Association.

Your lawyer is representing you and I think that you wanna make sure that your lawyer is aligned, and your lawyers are experienced.

About Cruz-Abrams Seigel

Cruz-Abrams Seigel LLC (CAS) is a corporate legal boutique focused on bringing practical, operationally oriented and strategic legal representation to every transaction.  CAS’s team of big law firm trained lawyers, who also have first-hand business, financial and operational experience, represents startups, venture capital funds, private equity funds, angel investors and both strategic and financial acquirers on transactions ranging from $200K to $200M.  As entrepreneurs themselves, the CAS team understands the investment of time, effort and energy it takes to succeed, and CAS is invested in each client’s success, providing personalized attention and building relationships that mean more and help clients go farther.

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