When starting up, many entrepreneurs have limited time, money and resources to get their vision off the ground. So, they skate by with a passable social-media strategy, employ some creative tactics for customer acquisitions and do their PR on a dime. But one area where founders shouldn't cut corners is their legal needs. Not setting a company up correctly in the beginning can set an entrepreneur up for disaster in the long run.
Fortunately, we have Lori S. Hoberman, a New York City-based lawyer and entrepreneur, to offer advice to our readers on the legalities of starting and running a business.
At her newly formed firm Hoberman Law Group, Hoberman acts as both a lawyer and advisor to entrepreneurs, helping them navigate the startup terrain -- everything from determining the correct business entity to protecting intellectual property and dealing with employee compensation. It is a job she thoroughly enjoys.
"It’s terrifically exciting to be a part of helping someone realize a dream, especially when that person is fearless, creative, slightly crazy and wildly passionate about what they’re doing," she says. "That’s why my first meeting with a potential client is such fun -- listening to them talk about how they came up with their idea, how they want to build it out and what their plan is for world domination."
Hoberman has her foot on both sides of the line, as she also lends a hand to investors and angels in the formation of investment funds.
Prior to jumping head-first into the world of entrepreneurship, Hoberman led Chadbourne & Parke’s emerging companies/venture capital team and, before that, Fish & Richardson’s venture capital practice. After years of working at big law firms, Hoberman decided she wanted to venture out on her own. This past October, she handed in her resignation at her full-time job, a nerve-racking experience many entrepreneurs can attest to.
"It’s very scary and when the words actually come out of your mouth, there may be that brief moment of wanting to take it all back," she says. "But, once the enormity of the resignation sinks in, and there is no turning back, the feelings of freedom, accomplishment and exhilaration take over."
Now that her new law firm is up and running, Hoberman plans on launching an incubator, IMG Labs (an acronym that stands for Innovation Made Good) in the near future.
Even as a busy entrepreneur Hoberman has made time for aspiring founders in her community. She is a mentor to 37 Angels, a community of women angel investors looking to fund early-stage companies, and she chairs the NYC Chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum, through which she helps organize "Future Entrepreneurs," a five- to 10-day summer program focused on entrepreneurship for New York City high school girls. Because of her experience and involvement, New York City startup news blog AlleyWatch recently named Hoberman one of the "20 Awesome People in the New York Tech Scene You Need to Know About."
For the month of January, we are thrilled to have Hoberman as our expert. She is eager to tackle your burning questions each week. Feel free to ask anything pertaining to the world of legal including entity formation, how to snag seed capital or where to find investors and compensation. As an entrepreneur, she is also open to questions about starting a business.
Submit your questions in the comments section below or tweet us, using the hashtag #ENTexpert. One topic will be selected by the editors of Entrepreneur and addressed by Hoberman in a weekly write up.