Getting legal services for your startup when you are low on cash

Written by EquityX

If you’re a first-timer in the entrepreneurial world, you may be alarmed by the number

of expenses your startup will face. It’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you’ll get more experience, it gets easier to prioritize where to earmark your money and where to try and save.

Aside from typical expenses like rent, payroll, and purchasing equipment, startup legal services can be pretty pricey as well. As there are always contracts to be signed, agreements to be drawn up, and other times you’ll need sound legal advice, it’s worth exploring alternative ways to get legal services without spending money.

Online Q&A Forums

It may not be the only place to seek legal advice, but it’s still a great starting point if you have basic questions and you’re trying to avoid spending any of your startup capital. For example, sites like Avvo or the business section of,offer a service in which you can ask any legal questions and they’ll be answered for free; sometimes by multiple lawyers with multiple perspectives. Additionally, there are many free articles and tutorials on a wide variety of topics that could be helpful in getting your startup the legal services it needs.

Trade Equity for Legal Services

An option that might be at your disposal is to offer equity in exchange for services or goods your company needs, including legal services. This could be tricky due to the possibility of a conflict of interest for a law firm representing a company it has a monetary stake in. But if you can manage to get around this problem, there are many law firms who would be willing to trade legal services for shares of equity in your company. One option might be to explicitly state (in a legal document) that you want the lawyer’s involvement in your business while recognizing that this conflict exists. Or you might create separate funds outside of your business that hold the equity shares. Either way, it’s certainly a viable option to explore.

If You Don’t Have a Lot, Use What You Got

If for whatever reason, equity isn’t something you want to tap into, you probably have other things to offer in exchange that are just as valuable. For example, the office space you’re using can be shared with a small legal firm looking to save on rent. In exchange, they can provide the startup legal services you need or give the advice you’re looking for. Perhaps you can offer to lend computers, extend your employee’s meal plan to the law firm at no charge, or even just volunteer your own company’s services if they’re beneficial to the law firm. There are certainly many resources at your disposal that could somehow be useful to others, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

Getting your startup legal services without cash might take a bit of time and creativity, but the results can be extremely rewarding. Don’t be afraid to explore every corner and crevice for new ways to acquire free legal services. You never know when a valuable opportunity will present itself!

Written by EquityX

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