When I think about the whole legal equation, I see some common preconceived notions about law firms. Foremost, is that they frequently overcharge, they are slow to react and more than a few are just plain difficult to work with.
I try not to work with those people.
What is most important to me is getting fast answers to my questions. I like things to get done as fast as I can work to move things off my plate.
That's what I want from an attorney too — fast but also substantive answers. Don't just tell me what can't be done. Tell me why it can't be done and explain the associated business issues. That's what I really care about.
I started a new company two and half years ago. As such, I needed everything. Non-disclosure agreements, employment agreements, an operating agreement, term sheet for fundraising, contracts, professional service agreements, vendor agreements; you name it. I needed pretty much everything across the board for what a brand new technology firm really needs to get up and going the right way.
I've worked with a number of different law firms and made what I feel were some mistakes in the past. The biggest mistake I have made is the decision to hire the proverbial "large law firm." It was very expensive to the point that I didn't even want to call in with a question because I always felt like I was being billed by the second. Stock Legal matches exactly what I want out of a law firm. They are very efficient. I feel like they know what they're doing and that I get the right level of detail.
All I want to know are answers to the most important decisions relevant to my business. What is the business risk? What is the logic for why that risk exists in the first place? Straightforward answers to questions such as these provide me with what I need to make decisions about the course of my company. That's it. I simply don't require a whole, official "unwound" legal opinion whose sole focus is protecting the firm's legal liability — and not allowing me to make an effective, fast and sound business decision.
Stock Legal conforms to the way I like to work. And I believe that I gain real value from their services — without massive sunk cost and waste. But do I sit there and calculate all of these cost savings? No. Of course not. I'm running a commercial enterprise. Look, I know how long it takes me to do certain things. I also know I am not an attorney but do appreciate the level of detail required to review legal matters important to my business. So, do I subscribe to the belief that Stock Legal's time investment realistically conforms with my expectations? Yes.
It just makes sense.
Additionally, the team Stock Legal has brought together makes me feel like everyone is highly competent and is on the same page.
It feels like the Stock Legal team has interchangeable work habits so I feel my time is always maximized and that my work is always sized right. I especially like that Stock Legal creates legal agreements that are fair to all sides. The nice thing about having "fair" agreements is that they are rarely ever negotiated and my deals close faster as a result. They approach the practice of law like a business — and not like a law firm.
The knowledge that Stock Legal has from an M&A perspective is impressive, helpful and important to me. I feel like I have an expert that has seen all types of deals of all different sizes, so I know I am receiving sound advice. One other thing that is worth mentioning. Sara advised that I create a "term sheet," which I feel kind of goes again the conventional wisdom. With that term sheet in hand, I kept going to all these small seed funds and so forth. At first no one really seemed to need it; mainly because we would be doing things on their terms and they had everything required to facilitate that. In the meantime, however, I found myself approaching people who had never even thought of investing in another company. And they had no mechanisms to be prepared to do so. But because I was pre-prepared with a terms sheet, I was able to engage quite effectively, with the ability to close on my terms. We eliminated much of the normal back and forth.
Without that term sheet, I'm not sure how things would have gone. But that kind of "outside the box" thinking is what I really appreciate about Stock Legal.
Stock Legal understands the requirements of companies my size and the life cycle that we have to go through to grow a company. I feel large law firms are dealing with large clients all the time — who have exclusively large client needs. Stock Legal's appreciation of what my business requires has proven to be invaluable.
—Bryan Sapot, CEO of SensrTrx