I am bootstrapping a startup and need legal help with:
Do you suggest:
Since this is an online subscription service, the lawyer shouldn't be ignorant about software. This is the first time I am registering a company, so any help is really appreciated!
We're doing a pretty major site launching in July and are using TRUSTe and have been pleased so far with their privacy services support.
I have not found a great terms of service generator. My suggestion is to look at the TOS's of some of the sites like yours and incorporate the key features.
There are a couple of attorneys who post regularly to this site and who seem to have a clue - you might consult with them on finding someone in "Chicagoland".
You're smart to be thoughtful about your rights and responsibilities - particularly around software licenses.
Good luck!!! (and keep us posted on your progress!)
If you cannot find a Chicago-area lawyer here (I'm 2,000 miles away), look on LinkedIn and / or Avvo.
Should I form an LLC or a corporation?, and the links from that post, should give you some idea of the important aspects of, and options regarding, startup entities.
Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
For registering a company, the best advice you will get is from a decent financial adviser. A good adviser, which will probably also be a CPA, will be able to look at your business and your goals and give you the best advice for how to legally organize your company. Once you figure out how you want to organize, pretty much any lawyer can do the work. Basically, they will file the state and federal paperwork and order a corporate book for you. The book will have several forms of organizing minutes and bylaws that you can fill in as well as a corporate seal and stock certificates.
As for your TOS and stuff, you can do most of it yourself if you want. The risk is that you are not an attorney and don't know the exactly legality of any particular term. However, if your TOS are going to be like every one else's, use someone else's as a reference and make your own. Don't copy theirs because they will likely have a copyright, but there is nothing wrong with using it as a reference for what needs to be included.
I give that advice with a couple of caveats. First, I am not an attorney so I can give advice only from my experience. Second, if you are planning to raise money from VC, they will likely want to audit your agreements and will want to know that they were drafted by an attorney.
If you do decide to get an attorney, get a local one. They will become an important part of your business and you will want decent access to them.