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Monday, April 21, 2014
Startups: Your Lawyers & Advisors Must Share Your Values
It is important to have shared or compatible interests with the consultants or professionals you hire. I believe you also need to have your advisors -- your lawyer, your accountant, your strategic advisors or managers -- share your values.
That is why I put my money where my mouth is. That's why I am willing to take founders' equity in young companies where the founders have merit and an underlying business with merit, in exchange for my services which are more of the "strategic" nature (using knowledge of the law and experience structuring deals) than what non-lawyers usually think legal work is (no, it's not always litigation or dealing with regulators).
Remember this: A consultant who asks for a huge retainer and $1000-2000 an hour for the time of staff whom you will never meet doesn't believe in your business, doesn't give a damn whether you succeed or fail and is taking you for a fool. I am all for people being paid according to the value they bring. But these rates, in this economy, do not reflect value added as much as they reflect the unrevealed fact that many clients are paying only a fraction of their bills and the "stated rate" or "stated charge" is artificially expanded as a trick to try to collect a higher percentage of the accounts receivable.
Eric Dixon provides legal and strategic advice to all sorts of young companies, private entities, nonprofits and political entities. He can be contacted at edixon@NYBusinessCounsel.com.