What's a reasonable budget for forming a proper shareholder agreement in a new start up, formed as a corporation to be owned between 4 founder/shareholders? I understnad there's some variation depending on complexity, but for basic exist scenarios, and some vesting, how much can you expect to pay to have a lawyer prepare a formal agreement?
We're in the early stages of starting up a new venture, with funding and partners in place, and an understanding (on paper in non-legalese) between us. I've been quoted a fee of about $5000 to prepare such a contract.
Is this reasonable based on others' experience? Is this lawyer out to lunch, or would we be getting a good deal?
What?? 5K is ridiculous. Either they will have to start from scratch (then don't use those lawyers because they probably don't know what they are doing) or they are taking advantage of you.
You shouldn't pay more than about 2-3 hour fee for this - MAX!
P.S. I'm a lawyer who creates this document on a regular basis and I know what I'm talking about here.
That's a lot more than what we paid, and we have very decent lawyers. We paid about half of that for ours.From what I understand, the more people involved in your agreement, the more complicated it is, and the more it will cost to draft. You'll also have to take care of I.L.A. (Independent Legal Review). It's really important to get a lawyer to revue your Shareholder's agreement from your perspective to make sure you understand what you are signing. Sometimes what's in your interest is separate from the best interest of your firm. And since you have four partners, there are many interests to consider.
Here's some tips going into the process that can help make the process simpler:
And my final piece of advice: Don't be afraid to spend money on a great lawyer for a solid agreement. It's a tiny price to pay in the long run, and protecting your and your partner's best interests are well worth the hit you'll take.
I know several lawyers, and it very much depends on both the lawyer, their specialization area, how busy they are, and how long it's going to take them to put together what you want.
A lawyer who specializes in corporate law and works for a large firm is going to cost a lot of money. A private-practice lawyer who has a general knowledge of this area is going to be much less costly (on average).
I would expect quotes to range anywhere from $1000 and up. $5000 sounds a little high to me since I've been quoted ~$2000 for a similar situation, but again, your situation may be different.
While the fee (obviously) will depend on the complexity of the arrangements, I typically have prepared shareholder agreements for a fee closer to half of what you were quoted.
Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.