Dear Startup Lawyers, Please Blog.

Like this post? Share it.

As an entrepreneur, I've long been befuddled by the utter lack of transparency and overall opacity of the market for legal services. From what I understand, this is how the VC world was just five years ago. And then guys like Fred Wilson, Chris Dixon and startups like theFunded popped up and changed the game/disrupted the model. 

The legal/startup world? Well, there's the Startup Lawyer and the Startup Company Lawyer (very creative naming, btw). And they're useful enough resources, I guess. They cover technical matters well, or so it seems, but they don't have a whole lot of personality. And as an entrepreneur, I want not only focused technical info but also big picture analysis and creativity. That's what's gonna draw me back and make me read the RSS feed on the regular. I've never seen a law firm do this. And if you're Wilson Sonsini, you probably don't need to. Startups find you.

But if you're a brand new firm trying to represent startups, this represents a huge opportunity.

If you blog about startups & related legal/corporate issues in a way that is smart and thoughtful, then folks like Fred & chris & others will link to you or retweet your posts. This will earn you credibility and make guys like me more likely to seek you out. Sure, it will probably increase your overall client flow as well (and maybe you can hire more lawyers cuz the good ones will self-select and seek you out cuz you're doing something cool), but you'll be able to pick/choose the best of those. 

Also, meeting clients at non-standard locations (and announcing it publicly) is a great way to make yourself approachable and cool. Not only will this be fun for you, but it will attract young founders who hate/are scared of lawyers.

Think of it as the freemium model applied to law: you use your blog to give away a little bit of your brain power, and in turn it creates demand for the premium version, your actual legal services. Again, think of how Chris & Fred's blogs affect their respective investment activity.  Smart people who do their homework self-select and seek you out.

If you're gonna do this, there's blog that should be on your radar: VentureHacks.com. Very awesome. If you decide to blog, make it your goal to get on Venture Hacks radar.

If you do this right, the best clients and talent will find you––and you'll be able to grow both your revenues and partner-base. I'm just shocked it hasn't been done already.

39 Comments

  1. Davidchungpark January 30, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    Here’s one firm that’s being creative: Andrews Kurth Launches Start-Up Organization Package: Andrews Kurth LLP http://bit.ly/adaika. Also, nice to see Walker’s firm (http://bit.ly/2nw9fB) as one of the sponsors of VentureHacks. Hopefully, we’ll see some firms like this in NYC.

  2. Davidchungpark January 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    Here’s one firm that’s being creative: Andrews Kurth Launches Start-Up Organization Package: Andrews Kurth LLP http://bit.ly/adaika. Also, nice to see Walker’s firm (http://bit.ly/2nw9fB) as one of the sponsors of VentureHacks. Hopefully, we’ll see some firms like this in NYC.

  3. scott edward walker January 30, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    Great post, Matt & thanks David for the plug. Yes, we’re blogging and twittering and partnering with Nivi at VentureHacks (one of the best websites for startups). It’s a lot of work, in addition to our client work, but it’s well worth it. Btw, we’ver put together a similar Startup Package to Andrews Kurth, but ours is half the price of theirs. Take care, Matt – and thanks again. Scott
    Web: http://www.walkercorporatelaw.com
    Blog: http://www.walkercorporatelaw.com/blog
    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scottedwalker

  4. scott edward walker January 30, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    Great post, Matt & thanks David for the plug. Yes, we’re blogging and twittering and partnering with Nivi at VentureHacks (one of the best websites for startups). It’s a lot of work, in addition to our client work, but it’s well worth it. Btw, we’ver put together a similar Startup Package to Andrews Kurth, but ours is half the price of theirs. Take care, Matt – and thanks again. Scott
    Web: http://www.walkercorporatelaw.com
    Blog: http://www.walkercorporatelaw.com/blog
    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scottedwalker

  5. Davidchungpark January 31, 2010 at 12:32 am #

    That’s good to know. I’ll forward the info to a friend who’s looking for counsel.

  6. Davidchungpark January 30, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    That’s good to know. I’ll forward the info to a friend who’s looking for counsel.

  7. scott edward walker January 31, 2010 at 1:35 am #

    Thanks David – much appreciated

  8. scott edward walker January 30, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Thanks David – much appreciated

  9. Dave January 31, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    excellent challenge… let’s hope some folks pick up the gauntlet thrown.

  10. Dave January 31, 2010 at 5:40 am #

    excellent challenge… let’s hope some folks pick up the gauntlet thrown.

  11. Dave January 31, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    btw i wrote a similar missive about 2-3 years ago here:
    http://500hats.typepad.com/500blogs/2007/09/vcs-tech-lawyer.html
    definitely Ted Wang, Yokum Taku, Steve Venuto doing some interesting stuff but i agree more of these folks & others need to be blogging their shit.

  12. Dave January 31, 2010 at 6:24 am #

    btw i wrote a similar missive about 2-3 years ago here:
    http://500hats.typepad.com/500blogs/2007/09/vcs-tech-lawyer.html
    definitely Ted Wang, Yokum Taku, Steve Venuto doing some interesting stuff but i agree more of these folks & others need to be blogging their shit.

  13. Matt Mireles January 31, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    Funny how this all happens. This post actually started out as an email to a couple young lawyers who had just started their own firm after being laid off from one of the biggies. They were smart, cool people, but it was hard for me (as a client) to justify why I’d go with them versus their old employer. But as a fellow founder, I wanted to help them out and see them disrupt the market. I hope they take up the challenge, because I think they’ll reap great rewards if they do it and execute well.

  14. Matt Mireles January 31, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    Funny how this all happens. This post actually started out as an email to a couple young lawyers who had just started their own firm after being laid off from one of the biggies. They were smart, cool people, but it was hard for me (as a client) to justify why I’d go with them versus their old employer. But as a fellow founder, I wanted to help them out and see them disrupt the market. I hope they take up the challenge, because I think they’ll reap great rewards if they do it and execute well.

  15. Justin February 1, 2010 at 2:58 am #

    Matt – a good friend of mine showed me your post. I couldn’t agree more. Please let me know what you think of my blog, The Start-up Strategist, http://www.thestartupstrategist.com

  16. Justin January 31, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    Matt – a good friend of mine showed me your post. I couldn’t agree more. Please let me know what you think of my blog, The Start-up Strategist, http://www.thestartupstrategist.com

  17. William Carleton February 1, 2010 at 6:05 am #

    Matt, Chris Dixon’s tweet http://twitter.com/cdixon/status/8421279874 led me to your blog and this post, which I am delighted to have found. Good tip on pursuing visibility on VentureHacks. I think Scott Edward Walker publishes or syndicates with them, and I’ve had an exchange or two with those guys, who seem cool, but I should keep trying. Another thing maybe to add to the list of suggestions for lawyer-bloggers to consider: there are startup sites that re-syndicate blog posts, and that can be a way, too, to disseminate your blog more broadly.

  18. William Carleton January 31, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    Matt, Chris Dixon’s tweet http://twitter.com/cdixon/status/8421279874 led me to your blog and this post, which I am delighted to have found. Good tip on pursuing visibility on VentureHacks. I think Scott Edward Walker publishes or syndicates with them, and I’ve had an exchange or two with those guys, who seem cool, but I should keep trying. Another thing maybe to add to the list of suggestions for lawyer-bloggers to consider: there are startup sites that re-syndicate blog posts, and that can be a way, too, to disseminate your blog more broadly.

  19. Mattbartus February 3, 2010 at 7:03 am #

    Dave, Matt: Challenge accepted (although we’re not a brand new firm by any stretch of the imagination and have many startup lawyers).
    http://www.mattbartus.com

  20. Mattbartus February 3, 2010 at 12:03 am #

    Dave, Matt: Challenge accepted (although we’re not a brand new firm by any stretch of the imagination and have many startup lawyers).
    http://www.mattbartus.com

  21. James Roberts February 6, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    We have been representing startups for about six years and I have been blogging for about one year, so I’ll bite. Try globalgeneralcounsel.wordpress.com and globalstrategic.wordpress.com. and you can see us at http://www.globalcaplaw.com.
    The blogs and bloggers you mention have been great in disrupting the model. I share your frustration with the lack of transparency in the “market,” among its other problems. One of the reasons is that an ecosystem has developed: VCs insist that their portfolio companies use certain law firms because they “owe” that firm clients in exchange for continued access to good deal flow and vice versa. We have good (but not great) deal flow but great access to big players in sectors appealing to entrepreneurs and we also have an attractive alternative fee structure, plus an aversion to this kind of ecosystem.
    And part of it is the absence of visibility for boutique firms. The marginal cost for time spent on building Mindshare for such firms is somewhat higher than the “name” firms. But, hey, we still manage to have fun with our work.
    James C. Roberts III
    www,globalcaplaw.com

  22. James Roberts February 6, 2010 at 2:23 am #

    We have been representing startups for about six years and I have been blogging for about one year, so I’ll bite. Try globalgeneralcounsel.wordpress.com and globalstrategic.wordpress.com. and you can see us at http://www.globalcaplaw.com.
    The blogs and bloggers you mention have been great in disrupting the model. I share your frustration with the lack of transparency in the “market,” among its other problems. One of the reasons is that an ecosystem has developed: VCs insist that their portfolio companies use certain law firms because they “owe” that firm clients in exchange for continued access to good deal flow and vice versa. We have good (but not great) deal flow but great access to big players in sectors appealing to entrepreneurs and we also have an attractive alternative fee structure, plus an aversion to this kind of ecosystem.
    And part of it is the absence of visibility for boutique firms. The marginal cost for time spent on building Mindshare for such firms is somewhat higher than the “name” firms. But, hey, we still manage to have fun with our work.
    James C. Roberts III
    www,globalcaplaw.com

  23. David Crow February 10, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    We’re lucky in Toronto to have 2 startup lawyers that blog:
    * Rob Hyndman http://robhyndman.com/
    * Suzie Dingwall Williams http://venturelaw.blogspot.com/
    And the close to blogging:
    * Rubsun Ho from Cognition LLP answers questions on StarutpNorth http://www.startupnorth.ca/2009/11/30/start-up-legal-issues-term-sheets-from-an-entrepreneurs-perspective/
    * Laberge Weinstein is capable of blogging http://lwlaw.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=13&Itemid=64 but they don’t

  24. David Crow February 10, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    We’re lucky in Toronto to have 2 startup lawyers that blog:
    * Rob Hyndman http://robhyndman.com/
    * Suzie Dingwall Williams http://venturelaw.blogspot.com/
    And the close to blogging:
    * Rubsun Ho from Cognition LLP answers questions on StarutpNorth http://www.startupnorth.ca/2009/11/30/start-up-legal-issues-term-sheets-from-an-entrepreneurs-perspective/
    * Laberge Weinstein is capable of blogging http://lwlaw.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=13&Itemid=64 but they don’t

  25. Yokum February 17, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    Hey — now that I noticed this post, I guess I’m going to be somewhat offended by the characterization of my blog as a lack of “a whole lot of personality.” You don’t find the FAQs or About Me page on the blog at least more interesting than the regular WSGR web site?
    http://www.startupcompanylawyer.com/faqs/
    Anyway, I’d write more stuff more often, but if you find much of the technical nuts and bolts stuff boring/difficult to read, it is even more boring to write. And I think I finished off most of my thoughts on convertible debt and Series A financings already. It’s somewhat hard to come up with some interesting topics to cover so I’d be open for suggestions.

  26. Yokum February 17, 2010 at 2:29 am #

    Hey — now that I noticed this post, I guess I’m going to be somewhat offended by the characterization of my blog as a lack of “a whole lot of personality.” You don’t find the FAQs or About Me page on the blog at least more interesting than the regular WSGR web site?
    http://www.startupcompanylawyer.com/faqs/
    Anyway, I’d write more stuff more often, but if you find much of the technical nuts and bolts stuff boring/difficult to read, it is even more boring to write. And I think I finished off most of my thoughts on convertible debt and Series A financings already. It’s somewhat hard to come up with some interesting topics to cover so I’d be open for suggestions.

  27. Matt Mireles February 17, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    My main critique is that your and other legal blogs like it are too technically focused and boring. The only reason I’d ever go there is to find legal info, which makes it more like a Q+A site than a blog per se. If you want me to actually read your blog, you need to get beyond narrowly focused legal issues and expose yourself more as a human being.
    Look at Fred Wilson. Nominally, he’s a VC. But only a fraction of what he writes about on his blog is VC specific. Sure, it comes up, but it’s only a part of who he is, not the whole. And as a reader, the thing that’s going to catch and hold my attention is this greater whole, not the narrow identity. Make sense?
    I guess the take away point is: Fuck convertible debt! Go beyond your lawyer-ness and write about interesting shit in the world around you. Be an interesting person, not just an interesting lawyer.

  28. Matt Mireles February 17, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    My main critique is that your and other legal blogs like it are too technically focused and boring. The only reason I’d ever go there is to find legal info, which makes it more like a Q+A site than a blog per se. If you want me to actually read your blog, you need to get beyond narrowly focused legal issues and expose yourself more as a human being.
    Look at Fred Wilson. Nominally, he’s a VC. But only a fraction of what he writes about on his blog is VC specific. Sure, it comes up, but it’s only a part of who he is, not the whole. And as a reader, the thing that’s going to catch and hold my attention is this greater whole, not the narrow identity. Make sense?
    I guess the take away point is: Fuck convertible debt! Go beyond your lawyer-ness and write about interesting shit in the world around you. Be an interesting person, not just an interesting lawyer.

  29. Matt Mireles February 17, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    Agreed!

  30. Matt Mireles February 17, 2010 at 6:10 am #

    Agreed!

  31. Matt Mireles February 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    Looks cool. Thanks!

  32. Matt Mireles February 17, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    Looks cool. Thanks!

  33. Yokum February 18, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    I get your point. No offense to the attorneys that blog about the world at large, but I don’t think that there are any attorneys out there that write interesting enough material on a regular basis for me to have it as a must read in my RSS reader.
    My blog is not intended to be a blog per se. It’s intended to be single-author wikipeida on startup stuff. I figure that anyone who is that interested in me as a person can simply follow me on twitter and read sarcastic tweets and see pictures of what I’ve eaten. I see twitter as an easier way to show personality, versus the amount of time it takes to write full-fledged blog posts.

  34. Yokum February 18, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    I get your point. No offense to the attorneys that blog about the world at large, but I don’t think that there are any attorneys out there that write interesting enough material on a regular basis for me to have it as a must read in my RSS reader.
    My blog is not intended to be a blog per se. It’s intended to be single-author wikipeida on startup stuff. I figure that anyone who is that interested in me as a person can simply follow me on twitter and read sarcastic tweets and see pictures of what I’ve eaten. I see twitter as an easier way to show personality, versus the amount of time it takes to write full-fledged blog posts.

  35. Antonejohnson February 21, 2010 at 5:02 am #

    Matt, I’m happy to take you up on your challenge. I recently founded a new and different kind of law firm representing startups, Bottom Line Law Group (http://bll.la), based in SF and LA. New firm, but not new lawyer; I worked at WSGR and a NY firm before going in-house to a succession of tech and media companies, culminating in the General Counsel role at eHarmony for the past few years. In addition to legal knowledge, I can offer the pragmatic business orientation that comes from serving as a member of the senior management team at a Web 2.0 company — and having paid millions of dollars of outside counsel bills.
    My new blog, Mashtag (http://masht.ag), is aimed at an audience of non-lawyers and addresses a range of issues, although I certainly intend to cover some of the more interesting legal material. There will be a consumer Web/social media slant, drawing on my experience at Excite@Home, MySpace/FIM and eHarmony, but much of it should hopefully be of interest to the broader entrepreneur and investor community. I hope you like it.
    P.S.: I’m grateful to have gotten on Venture Hacks’ radar screen already – http://venturehacks.com/articles/social-lawyers

  36. Antonejohnson February 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    Matt, I’m happy to take you up on your challenge. I recently founded a new and different kind of law firm representing startups, Bottom Line Law Group (http://bll.la), based in SF and LA. New firm, but not new lawyer; I worked at WSGR and a NY firm before going in-house to a succession of tech and media companies, culminating in the General Counsel role at eHarmony for the past few years. In addition to legal knowledge, I can offer the pragmatic business orientation that comes from serving as a member of the senior management team at a Web 2.0 company — and having paid millions of dollars of outside counsel bills.
    My new blog, Mashtag (http://masht.ag), is aimed at an audience of non-lawyers and addresses a range of issues, although I certainly intend to cover some of the more interesting legal material. There will be a consumer Web/social media slant, drawing on my experience at Excite@Home, MySpace/FIM and eHarmony, but much of it should hopefully be of interest to the broader entrepreneur and investor community. I hope you like it.
    P.S.: I’m grateful to have gotten on Venture Hacks’ radar screen already – http://venturehacks.com/articles/social-lawyers

  37. www.facebook.com/profile.php?i February 27, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    If you are in tech in any capacity, please blog, period. And it is so easy to do, so many platform choices. You just spoke my mind. Fred Wilson has one of the very best solo blogs out there, period, tech or non tech.

  38. www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=621599484 February 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    If you are in tech in any capacity, please blog, period. And it is so easy to do, so many platform choices. You just spoke my mind. Fred Wilson has one of the very best solo blogs out there, period, tech or non tech.

  39. Anonymous July 29, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

    I think it’s a really good idea to improve communications between entrepreneur’s and lawyers. I know some very good Boston lawyers that would trust with my life lol. Freemium model sounds really interesting, I’m considering giving it a go thanks.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: