Gen Y entrepreneurs need innovative legal counsel. It’s not uncommon for small business owners to be unaware of laws that could impact their business in a positive or negative way. Let’s face it. We stay very busy and if the interpretation of the law isn’t a strong suit – it is out of sight, out of mind. In reality, it is in every entrepreneur’s best interest to equip his/her dream team with an attorney to consult on legal issues and preclude costly legal situations.
Every entrepreneur and will eventually need, and should consider utilizing, legal services to assist with the interpretation of business law. When you first get started by choosing a legal entity, if you choose to file for a patent or if you decide to go into business with someone you will need a specialized attorney to address unforeseen issues. The most ethically sound business can become exposed to issues including employee lawsuits, insurance issues, internet policy and security, you name it – we live in a litigious society so preparation is critical.
Most importantly, a good attorney will protect your best interests. Legal services vary in scope and are needed for the simplest of matters including contract review, to larger scale issues such as client conflict resolution. Small businesses have unique needs therefore, specialized focus is essential.
Attorney and former law clerk, Rachel Rodgers, Esq., recognized the growing need to assist her twenty-something friends with legal questions and concerns, which led the development of Rachel Rodgers Law Office. Learn how Rogers carved out her niche, remained competitive and champions entrepreneurship by advising her clients to “Build big dreams for their small businesses.”
Company: Rachel Rodgers Law Office
Founder, Age: Rachel Rodgers, 28
Location: New York, NY & San Luis Obispo, CA
Startup Year: 2010
Startup Costs: $400
How I Got Started: I was clerking for a judge in New Jersey when three different friends and friends of friends contacted me for legal advice. They all had dilemmas related to business law and were having trouble finding attorneys they could relate to and trust. So I decided to start my own practice the day after my clerkship ended. This trio, who all happened to be under 30, became my first clients and my niche of serving Gen Y entrepreneurs and business owners was born.
Best Success Story: One of my first few clients was a young woman purchasing her first business. The unsavory seller, among other things, was trying to trick my client into signing off on a right of re-entry clause, which would allow the seller to re-enter the business under certain circumstances. I prevented my client from signing a contract that would not have been in her best interest and negotiated a deal that worked very well for her.
Biggest Startup Challenge: Most attorneys charge by the hour. In my opinion, hourly rates do a disservice to clients and create a conflict of interest between the attorney and the client. I won’t bore you with the details but I committed to charging flat fees only. However, legal services can be unpredictable so it can be challenging to determine the right fee to charge. And there is an added challenge in that I serve young entrepreneurs who usually don’t have a lot of capital to work with. I have definitely made mistakes with pricing but at this point, I’ve decided to offer varying packages of service so that clients have options and can pick a package that fits their needs and budget.
#1 Tips for Newbies: Go big. Clients often come to me saying they want to create an LLC for their little business. They don’t want to incorporate because they’re too small right now. My response? You’re never too small for big dreams! Why set yourself up to run a small business? Set yourself up to run a big business. That way you can easily take advantage of opportunities for growth. And I believe that you are more likely to grow when you have a big vision for your “little” business.