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There is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. I say vague, because when we consider to what extent confidence and honors are reposed in and conferred upon lawyers by the people, it appears improbable that their impression of dishonesty is very distinct and vivid. Yet the impression is common, almost universal. Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief. Resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which you do, in advance, consent to be a knave. ~ ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Eventually, every entrepreneur will be introduced to what we refer to as a ‘startup lawyer’. They are excited to find a kindred spirit who can help them navigate incorporation, convertible notes, and eventually preferred stock offerings. Over time it is normal to become friends with your startup lawyer. I have multiple times. The entrepreneur’s biggest misconception is that their startup lawyer represents them. In reality, your startup lawyer represents the interests of the company and its shareholders in aggregate. After your first outside financing, your personal interests are likely diverging from the interests of the whole.

This is the current reality, don’t be frustrated. You need to realize this so you can engage your own lawyer. Someone to represent your interests as founders. You need someone to draft your employment agreement other than your company’s lawyer. You need someone to review investment documents other than your company’s lawyer. You need help. Your investors will have their own lawyers (your investment documents will likely spell out the fact that the company must pay their bills) and it makes perfect sense for you to have your own lawyers (i.e. as the founders). You should have the company pay for your lawyers as well (what is good for the goose and all). But ensure YOU have engaged your lawyers and simply have the company reimburse your expenses just as your investors have done.

If you’re located in Dallas I recommend hiring Kevin Vela as your company’s lawyer (my company, CultureMap uses him) and Ray Balestri (I’ve personally used him) or Bill Garrison as founder’s counsel (he has represented my interests).