It’s a general axiom in the start-up community that the first thing you need is a good lawyer. Generally, the first partner you want to bring in is a lawyer to make sure the company is started on a sound legal basis. You’ll need a lawyer to help you through things such as incorporation, the right legal structure, the right capital structure, patent/trademark claims, and more. It is highly recommended that you have a lawyer for each area of specialty.
Try this: At Lakeshore Express, we tried to bring in new counsel for each specific area of focus. We hired an IP lawyer to help us with our trademark and patent claims. For general matters, we hired the services of outside counsel who was experienced in FAA and DOT (Department of Transportation) issues. When we had questions regarding reorganization, we brought in a restructuring lawyer to make sure we were doing things in the best possible manner.
Don’t do this: Don’t resort to using a lawyer because they are cheap or depend on a single lawyer. While its certainly fine to bring in a friend as counsel during your pre-launch build-up, use this counsel as a general counsel, managing the different legal elements, but acknowledging that your general counsel will need help and you will have to pay for these other services.