Startup law firms? Yeah, think of them as the gardeners of the business world. They make sure your startup seed grows into a mighty oak, all while playing nice with the law.

  • Trust Factor: You want a firm that comes with a seal of approval. If others are raving about them, you’re onto something good.
  • Expertise Alert: Look for the nerds of the law world. The ones who can recite legal jargon like song lyrics.
  • Clean Slate: No drama, no issues. A firm with a clean record is a firm you can trust.
  • Talk the Talk: Communication is key. You want a firm that speaks your language, not just Legalese.
  • Wallet-Friendly: Money talks, right? Make sure their payment style vibes with your budget.
  • Real-World Smarts: Book smarts are cool, but can they hustle in the real world? That’s the golden ticket.
  • Tech & Goals: They gotta get you. From your tech stack to your moonshot goals, they should be all in.
  • Network Bonus: A firm that can introduce you to other cool peeps in the industry? That’s like the cherry on top.

So, whether you’re trademarking your logo or navigating investor contracts, pick a law firm that’s more than just a suit and tie.

Startup Law Firms Making Waves

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Hang tight, folks, because Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati ain’t your everyday law firm. Born in 1961 in sunny Palo Alto, California, these legal dudes got their fingers in many pies.

From corporate law shenanigans to intellectual property battles, these guys got it all. If you’re flying planes, making movies, or shaking up the financial world, they’re your team.

The Bling – What Have They Done?

  • IPO Masters: Talk about big names, from Apple to Twitter. These guys are the maestros of initial public offerings.
  • M&A Gurus: Top 10 in mergers and acquisitions? Yep, that’s them. If it’s tech, they’re in.

Cooley LLP

Cooley’s like that band that’s been rockin’ since 1920. Based in Palo Alto, California, these legal rockstars are worldwide. Corporate stuff, real estate, energy—you name it, they play it. They’ve got this vibe of teamwork, respect, and sheer awesomeness that’s got folks talking.

The Highlights – What’s Their Score?

  • Corporate Hotshots: From Dropbox to advising Uber’s big buy of Drizly, they’re cooking with gas.
  • Legal Defenders: Facebook, Google, Zoom? Defended ’em all. They even told a nationwide complaint to take a hike for Google.
  • Inclusion Champs: These guys are all about including everyone. Minority Partners’ best friends, they say.
  • Award Winners: Snagged the “Technology/Telecommunications Corporate Practice of the Year, 2021.” No biggie.

Fenwick & West LLP

“Fenwick & West LLP: We’re lawyering for the Information Age,” they say. And man, do they mean it! Based in the heart of tech world, Silicon Valley, they’re all about the tech and startup game. Need venture capital? Want to go public? Got intellectual property worries? They’ve got you.

This law firm’s like a young rock band. They celebrated their 25th anniversary in ’97 and are growing faster than you can say “patent!” Dividing into groups like Corporate, Litigation, Tax, and Intellectual Property, they’ve got a finger in every tech pie.

Clients & Achievements – What’s Their Story?

  • Tech Titans Served: Apple, Intel, Amazon? Yep, all clients from the 90s.
  • Law Firm Superstar: Rankings? They’ve got ’em. Size? Revenue? Global standing? Check, check, and check!

Gunderson Dettmer

Boom! Gunderson Dettmer, arriving on the scene in 1995, Redwood City, California. Boutique law firm? You bet. This legal squad specializes in the stuff that makes startups tick: mergers, acquisitions, licensing, and all that jazz. Clean tech, life sciences, mobile – they’re into it all.

Deals & Achievements – What’s Their Mojo?

  • Tech Deal Wizards: Sold companies to Apple, Google, Microsoft? Been there, done that!
  • Clients with Flair: From Foursquare to Sequoia Capital, they’ve worked with the who’s who of the startup world.
  • Ranked and Rolling: They’re 113th in the U.S., with hundreds of attorneys to back them up.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Okay, so picture this. It’s 1863 in San Francisco, and a law firm’s about to rise. This law firm, Orrick, is gonna do big stuff. Golden Gate Bridge? They’re on it. First offerings under some securities act? Yep. Even some crazy water rights battles over Lake Tahoe. They’ve got history.

Now, let’s flash forward. They’re worldwide, with over 1,100 attorneys that practically bleed teamwork. Whether you’re in California or Texas, they’re around.

And they’re not just chilling. Orrick’s got three huge playgrounds: Technology & Innovation, Energy & Infrastructure, and Finance. Talk billion-dollar disputes, global trading, renewable energy, intellectual property – the list goes on.

Big Moments and Big Clients – What’s the Buzz?

  • For the Tech Heads: Think Kite Pharma and Oracle. Even took on a billion-dollar patent fight.
  • Litigation Pros: Credit Suisse, Johnson & Johnson. You know, the big leagues.
  • Markets and Money: From BioAtla to Levi’s. Even helped Clover Health go public. Cool, right?
  • Awards and Accolades: They’ve got ’em. Top U.S. Law Firm in Europe, ranks in the Legal Business Global London, Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For? Check, check, and double-check.

Legal Services By Those Rocking Startup Law Firms

Let’s Talk Business – How to Start It?

So, you’re starting a business. Awesome! But wait, you gotta choose the right “legal” structure. Trust me, it’s big. It’s like building a house. You mess up the foundation, and everything goes wonky.

You gotta think liability, costs, taxes – the whole shebang. And these startup law firms? They’re the ones to call. They know company formation, structuring, and all that jazz. They’ve been around the block, and they’ll get you set up right.

Company Formation and Structuring – What’s the Deal?

Oh, you wanna know how to structure your business? These top startup law firms are like rockstar guides. They’ll take you through the whole process. Like, they’ll look at your goals and dreams and find the perfect fit. Whether it’s an LLC or a big ol’ corporation, they’ll make sure you’re good to go.

Protecting Those Ideas – Intellectual Property Law

Hey, let’s talk ideas, those precious things in your head. You know, the ones that make your startup unique? Intellectual property law is like the security guard for your ideas. It’s tricky, it’s complex, but man, it’s essential.

You’ve got rights over those ideas, but you gotta know how to play the game. Trust me, you’ll want a hotshot intellectual property lawyer. They’ll help you dance around common mistakes and lock down your cool ideas. So no nasty surprises down the road.

The People Game – Employment Law and Stuff About Equity

Starting up? Great, but don’t forget about the people. I mean, who’s gonna help you make it all happen? Your team! You’ll need some basic documents. Think anti-harassment policies, equal opportunities, the whole shebang.

And let’s not forget the money part, like ownership, roles, and all those tiny details that seem like nothing now but can turn into big headaches later. You want it all neat and clean from the start. An experienced employment lawyer can sort that out in a snap.

Show Me the Money – Fundraising and Financing Agreements

Money talks, especially when you’re launching a business. But grabbing any dollar that comes your way? Nah, not always the best move.

You’ve got legal stuff to think about. Like, what strings come with that cash? That’s where a solid startup lawyer jumps in. They’ll check out your offer, make sure you’re not getting played, and keep you on the straight and narrow. Money’s cool, but not if it messes with your vibe.

Joining Forces or Taking Over – Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

M&As aren’t just big words; they’re big deals. Like, let’s get together and make something huge kind of deals. But don’t dive in without checking the water.

You’ve got stuff like due diligence, negotiations, and rules to play by. It’s like a dance, and you’ve got to know the steps. And yeah, you might even have some legal watchdogs (hello, SEC and FTC) looking over your shoulder. Better make sure everything’s on point. A little legal backup won’t hurt.

Finding Your Legal BFF – Choosing the Right Law Firm for Your Startup

What Do You Need, and What’s Important to You?

Nobody’s giving out free legal advice. So when you’re looking for a lawyer, make sure you’re clear on what you need. Like, really clear.

Are you getting investors on board? Signing new deals? Forming a wild partnership? Whatever it is, you need time to find your legal match. And not just any lawyer, the right one. Someone who knows the startup world and can tweak those legal papers to suit your vibe.

Sizing Up Startup Law Firms – What They Offer

Startup law firms, huh? Yep, that’s right, they’re special. Let’s dive into what makes them tick.

Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Pocket

Choosing the right law firm ain’t just about what they know; it’s about what they charge. Most law firms stick with this monthly retainer thing. Like, you pay them every month for their legal wisdom. It’s all gotta fit with what you need and how deep your pockets are.

Tap Into the Grapevine – Referrals and Recommendations

Lookin’ for a legal superhero? Your first pit stop should be the legal community. They’re like this hub that can hook you up with the right folks. Free consultations, specialized expertise, you name it.

Or just ask around. Your friends, other firms, accountants, even the local chamber of commerce. You’d be surprised who might have the golden referral.

Getting Cozy with Your Law Firm

Relationships matter, even with your law firm. Here’s how to keep the love alive.

Keep the Lines Open – Communication and Collaboration

Talking. It’s so simple, yet so vital. Whether it’s hashing out legal plans or just shooting the breeze, clear communication rocks. It speeds things up, builds trust, and just makes everything nicer.

Keep It Fresh – Regular Checks and Updates on Legal Stuff

Going DIY on legal things? Maybe not the best idea. Sure, you might see ads screaming “incorporate for peanuts!” But trust me, legal stuff’s gotta be tailored.

It’s about making sure everything fits your company and what you want. Boilerplate stuff? Nah, won’t cut it. You want your papers to be like a well-tailored suit, not a one-size-fits-all mess.

Get Ahead – Proactive Advice and Guidance

Your lawyer’s like your coach. They’ll tell you about the game, the rules, the risks, and the plays. But in the end, you call the shots.

They’ll lay it all out, maybe even throw in a recommendation. But hey, it’s your show. You balance what’s important, the risks, the costs, everything. You decide what’s a win for you.


FAQ about startup law firms

How do I set up a startup law firm?

Ah, diving right in, huh? First things first, you’ll need a clear business plan. Vision, mission, and values, you know the drill. After that, consider the legal structure – are you going solo, partnership, or LLC?

Get the necessary licenses, pick an accessible office space, and make sure you’re insured. Think about tech tools to streamline work, and always stay updated with your state’s Bar requirements.

What areas of law should I specialize in?

Great question! Really, it’s all about what you’re passionate about and where there’s demand. Common areas for startups include intellectual property, business formation, contract law, and employment law.

But, hey, if there’s a niche you’re into, dive deep. Sometimes, finding a less-saturated market can be a goldmine. Listen to your gut and do some market research.

How much should I charge my clients?

This is always a bit tricky. You wanna be competitive, right? But not sell yourself short. Begin by understanding market rates.

It’s cool to offer introductory rates or even pro bono work to get your foot in the door. As you build reputation, don’t be shy to increase your rates. Remember, value your time and expertise.

How do I attract clients to my new firm?

You gotta hustle and network, buddy. Attend industry events, join legal associations, and tap into alumni networks. Word of mouth is gold, so encourage referrals.

A stellar online presence is key too – think website, social media, and maybe even a blog. Oh, and collaborate with other professionals, like accountants or consultants. They often have clients in need of legal help.

Do I need a big team to start?

Nah, not necessarily. Some folks start solo and then expand as the client list grows. Think about hiring paralegals or assistants for support tasks.

If there are areas you’re not familiar with, consider collaborating with other attorneys on a case-by-case basis. The key? Stay lean and flexible, especially in the beginning.

Should I consider a partnership?

Ah, the age-old question. Partnerships can be great. You share responsibilities, risks, and expenses. Plus, having another brain around? Pretty awesome. But, and it’s a big BUT, ensure you both share the same values and vision.

Clear communication and a rock-solid partnership agreement are crucial. It’s like any relationship – needs work and understanding.

How do I handle competition?

Here’s the thing – there’s always gonna be competition. Instead of stressing, focus on what makes you unique. Is it your personal touch? Or maybe expertise in a niche area?

Offer exceptional service, always be ethical, and never stop learning. Oh, and foster genuine relationships with clients. Loyalty beats competition any day.

What are common challenges for startup law firms?

Alright, real talk – cash flow can be a challenge. Regular clients might be hard to come by initially. There’s also the pressure of establishing a brand and reputation. And hey, burnout? It’s real.

Balancing work and personal life is essential. Don’t forget to invest in continuous learning too. The law’s always evolving, you know?

How do I manage my firm’s finances?

Budget, budget, budget! Keep a close eye on expenses, especially in the early days. Separate personal and business finances, and maybe consider hiring an accountant or using accounting software.

Track receivables – remember, getting clients to pay on time can sometimes be… well, a challenge. And always, I mean, always, have an emergency fund.

How important is online marketing for my firm?

Huge! Like, really, really big. An online presence establishes credibility. Invest in a professional website and make sure it’s SEO optimized. Engage on social media platforms, share relevant content, and maybe even consider some online ads.

The world’s digital, and your firm should be too. Online reviews? Gold. Encourage happy clients to leave ’em.

Wrapping It Up – The How and Why of Startup Law Firms

Navigating the high seas of business? You need a startup lawyer, like a captain steering a ship.


  • Solid Ground: They build you a fortress. IP, assets—everything’s safe.
  • Fine Art of Details: Think of contracts as puzzles; these pros piece ’em together.
  • Tax & Investors: Tax maze? They got a GPS. Bad investor deals? They’re your human shield.

Findin’ The One

Research like you’re stalking your high school crush. Reviews, vibes, the whole shebang.

When you do find ’em?

You’ve basically got a business BFF.


I'm the manager behind the Upcut Studio team. I've been involved in content marketing for quite a few years helping startups grow.