Do we need a lawyer before going live?


Once everything technical is said and done and we have a product to go live with, should we contact a lawyer? What kind of protection do we need from the "rotten eggs" out there? I know we need a TOS and a Privacy Policy (which can be made via templating), but what else is necessary?

If it matters, we're based in Canada.

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asked Apr 4 '12 at 10:30
Max Mackie
166 points
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  • If you are worried of the rotten eggs, looking into professional insurance might be a good option. Paperwork is great, but people can sue for any, or no good reason. – Ryan Doom 11 years ago
  • Do you need to protect intellectual property? – Jeff O 11 years ago
  • @JeffKO, maybe, maybe not. We aren't sure. This is our first startup and we have a pretty cool web app, but we don't know if it's "intellectual property". – Max Mackie 11 years ago

2 Answers


While not strictly necessary I would strongly recommend having a legal "Check up" with a good lawyer before launching. They can take a look at your business plan and point out any potential pitfalls that need addressing. Half an hour of a lawyers time now can save you thousands later on.

answered Apr 4 '12 at 23:28
Tom Squires
1,047 points
  • Thanks for your answer. Do you know which questions should be asked? I'm going to be looking around for a "startup checklist" of sorts. I've never dealt with a lawyer before so I wouldn't know where to start. We're just a couple of developers with a cool idea. – Max Mackie 11 years ago
  • Just take your business plan to him and ask him to look over it and point out any potential pitfalls. It shouldn't take more than half an hour. If anything comes up you can then look into it in more detail and arrange a full appointment with him/her – Tom Squires 11 years ago
  • Perfect, thanks :) – Max Mackie 11 years ago


Every company is different, so coming up with a standard set of questions isn't really a great approach.

Recall that the main purpose of talking with the lawyer is to help reduce the number of ways you could wind up in court, either because somebody sued you or because the government decided that you were doing something criminally wrong. So, the main question to ask yourself is "If everything went wrong, how would people be hurt?" Then, think about what government approvals you'd need. Those two things should help guide your discussion with your lawyer. That will necessarily deal with things like your terms of service and privacy policy.

answered Apr 5 '12 at 00:31
Chris Fulmer
2,849 points

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