Do Lawyers Make the Best Entrepreneurs?


One of the deepest questions surrounding entrepreneurship is what type of character traits and experience are best suited for a career in entrepreneurship? While it might seem obvious that a background in business could be the strongest asset, others argue that a creative mind is necessary to champion the ideas that form the basis for an entrepreneurial venture. There is another school of thought that one of the most important backgrounds for an entrepreneurial effort is a legal mind.

In many respects, an attorney is trained to anticipate any possible circumstance. A lawyer must be prepared for everything and anything. This is a skill that is incredibly important when starting a business. A good entrepreneur plans and outlines a business model, but must be prepared to manage and deal with many unexpected challenges associated with launching a venture. It is these inevitable challenges often form the bulk of the work for an entrepreneur.

A legal mind is also necessary to help understand the legal and regulatory landscape of your business. The local, state, and federal level each add their own challenges and hurdles for most new businesses. A legal mind is often necessary to help navigate a start-up through the myriad regulations a firm may encounter. Often these hurdles can turn into a roadblock that can limit a start-up from being able to enter the market, a good legal mind can help to mitigate these roadblocks and better ensure success.

Most importantly a legal background will help a business think through business decisions. As taught in law school, when an attorney prepares for litigation, he or she must anticipate all arguments from the opposition. This type of devil’s advocate mindset helps new businesses weigh their positions on any subject. When making business decisions, its critical to consider all outcomes and how each outcome may affect your business.

There is no one single trait or experience that will position a person most successfully for a career as an entrepreneur, but there is no doubt that many of the characteristics of a legal mind are valuable tools in the real of new ventures. Honing your experience in these traits will not guarantee success, but it should better prepare a struggling entrepreneur for the high stakes world of start-ups.

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