Contracts, Startups

Legal Checklist for Startups and Founders

Legal Checklist for Startups and Founders

Whether a first time startup, repeat founder onto the next venture or an operational business trying to get your “legal house” in order, a simple legal checklist is always helpful.  There are lots of samples available, but here is a practical one that can help guide you, and your lawyer, as you begin and hopefully prosper.

Entity Formation/Initial Set-up

–Form entity (corporation, LLC, partnership, etc.)

–Anticipated financing path (amount needed, growth anticipated, multiple financing rounds)

–Rights of Founder(s) (vesting?)

–Equity compensation for employees/consultants/advisors (vesting and repurchase rights)

–Involve CPA/tax advisor early


–Convertible Note

–Convertible Preferred Stock (Series Seed, Series A, B, C, etc.)

–Others (SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity), Debt)

Practical Considerations of Financing

–How much will you need?





–Employment/Independent Contractor/Advisor Agreements (work for hire)


–Website Agreements (Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, Copyright Policy, Disclaimers)


–Protect your house mark and brands

–Trademark Availability Assessment/Clearance

–Register domain names (Defensive registrations)

–Social Media, including online reputation management


–Personal ownership of IP versus ownership by entity (licensing issues)

Patents and Trade Secrets

–Assess opportunities and risks