Free Legal Advice for Tech Startups
Enter the Tech Law Project -- a pro bono legal services venture that aspires to help high-tech entrepreneurs answer the most basic business formation questions. Then, at no cost to the start-up, prepare and file articles of incorporation, corporate by-laws, operating agreements and more. Founded in mid-October by New York City-based attorneys Hayes Ellisen and Eli Shahmoon, TLP seeks to work with serious tech-focused entrepreneurs only (no half-baked ideas allowed), saving them as much $5,000 in initial business formation-related start-up costs.
"Technology startups are a major engine driving job growth in today's economy," says Shahmoon. "Legal costs, however, may lead founders to not seek legal advice in the critical formative stages of a company. This can cause early errors that may interfere with the company's growth and financing opportunities."
Ellisen, whose going rate is $385/hr., says he and Shahmoon have been fortunate throughout their legal careers and that now's a good time for them to give back via the Tech Law Project.
That said, it's important to note that technically, TLP is not a standalone operation. Many law firms offer pro bono legal services to a particular niche under the moniker of a "project," which is exactly what Shahmoon & Ellisen LLP have done with TLP. Upon acceptance into the project, TLP participants are actually signing a letter of engagement for pro bono services from Shahmoon & Ellisen LLP, not the Tech Law Project.
Programs like the Tech Law Project may reveal a growing trend in professional services. With the capacity to handle up to 20 entrepreneurs at a time, it seems to make sense that if TLP does a great job for its start-ups and entrepreneurs, those same businesses are going to reward Shahmoon & Ellisen LLP with their long-term legal business.
For more information visit www.TechLawProject.com or Shahmoon & Ellisen LLP.