When to hire someone with law/business background in a start up?


When is the best time to hire someone with law/business experience? I've got a friend with a JD MBA, that is looking for good start up companies where his services might be valued. He worked in law for 6 to 7 years, and wants to work in more of a team/sales environment. He's a sharp guy that graduated from Vanderbilt.

He's looking for younger companies where he can help with business decisions as well as legal. I've encouraged him to talk with some Venture Capitalists that has lead him to some introductions in some start up companies.

I'm trying to help him focus in on what kind of start up companies would need his skills. Any general or specific information would be helpful.

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asked Jul 29 '11 at 09:49
314 points
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1 Answer


While a start up can certainly use a lawyer the work associated with legal contracting and opinions in most cases gets outsourced to a law firm and is not enough to warrant an expensive full time role.

However if you do have an individual with legal back ground who is interested in a client facing full time role, there is a lot that a start up can do with that background. Contracting, negotiations, pitching, presenting and selling are all roles where attention to detail, patience and the ability to take a stand against intense pressure are very useful skills.

If your friend is willing to get his hands dirty, work for founder compensation and is comfortable with a role where there is no job description (JD) or boundaries and he can only eat what he brings in, I am sure lots of start ups would love to talk to him. But he would need to figure out what he story will be when people ask him about the switch to startup mode.

answered Jul 29 '11 at 14:53
Finance Mentor
688 points
  • Good advice. He wants to get his hands dirty, and he explains his switch well (so it shouldn't be an issue). Are their specific types of start ups or specific size start ups where his background would be most utilized? Software, product, services... 1 client, 10 clients, 100 clients, 100,000 users... tech industry, energy industry, healthcare, government... – Bertrood 13 years ago

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