“My daddy is a movie actor, and sometimes he plays the good guy, and sometimes he plays the lawyer.”
–Malcolm Ford, son of Harrison Ford
In one of my roles in the Army, I had the opportunity to interact a lot with attorneys. I was responsible for the interactions between the military deployed to Bosnia and the civilian agencies and United Nations, and I worked with the attorneys to ensure that everything I proposed was legal. When we were working out in the base gym, the attorneys played Jedi mind tricks on me.
“You want to be a lawyer…” (hand wave)
“Law is fun!” (hand website wave)
So, when I ended my tour of Bosnia, I submitted my paperwork to get out of the Army. I was going to be a lawyer!
Fast forward a couple of years later, and I’d just finished my summer internship after my first year of law school at the University of Virginia. I realized that the JAG guys had played Jedi mind tricks on me, and I wasn’t cut out to be a lawyer. Rather than continuing to throw good money after bad, I transferred to the business school.
Still, I had taken 1L contracts with Professor Henderson. I knew the important aspects of the law! So, when I started up my company a couple of years later with my two co-founders, I was the contracts person. In fact, I was the everything legal person.
A few years later, when we started having inquiries about selling the company, I and the corporate checkbook realized the error of my ways. Fortunately, we engaged a rock star real lawyer to get everything straightened out for us and to represent us in buyout discussions, and all ended well.
Today, I bring you an interview with that lawyer, Patrick Asplin of the Lenhart Pettit law firm in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Here are some of the highlights of our interview:
- 1:43 – The four situations when you should use an attorney
- 6:21 – What do I do if I didn’t set up properly in the first place?
- 8:35 – Why I can’t just use Google to find contracts?
- 12:25 – How can I protect the intellectual property for my great idea?
- 25:10 – How do I pick what corporate form to use when I start up?
- 30:23 – What do I need to watch out for if I look for crowdfunding?
- 32:15 – What are some other mistakes that entrepreneurs make when it comes to attorneys?
Without further ado, the interview is below!