Monday, September 25, 2006

Venture Law Line: $150/month

I've only ever wanted to be a lawyer. The reason may be partly genetic; for the last 240 years (since my ancestors snuck across the border from New York to Canada), the folks in my family have either been doctors or lawyers. Some people wander in the desert; my people bill by the hour.

Many of my early stage clients take an emergency room approach to getting legal advice. I often meet them for the first time when a legal issue has become chronic. Their reasons ? 1. cost; and 2. getting advice that is relevant to their size and stage of growth. Unlike the US, Canada does not have a large number of lawyers who have spent time in house or in venture capital. We are a rare breed, and we often charge a premium for it. (Then we take equity in our client and claim that this doesn't create a conflict of interest (we'll discuss this later)).

We developed VENTURE LAW LINE to reduce emergency traffic. The law line is a low cost service for entrepreneurs and businesses who need affordable, responsive access to senior lawyers who can answer a wide range of issues - from employee comp and HR , to using open source in systems and services, to technology licensing.

Here's how it works: For a flat rate of $150 a month, clients have unlimited telephone access (through a toll free number) to a team of senior lawyers whose experience includes time at leading law firms, venture capital funds, and as part of management for emerging and leading corporations. They can call as often as they want during normal business hours during any month for which they've paid for service. Some early stage clients will only need to talk to us once every few months or so; larger clients - Canadian branches of US companies or companies with a full time controller or CFO - may want regular access to us for day-to-day questions that may arise. Our monthly subscription accommodates both needs. Our team is located in Ottawa and Toronto; you can learn more about our members through the VENTURE LAW LINE link at

The value to our clients: a regular line to first rate, seasoned advice at a low fixed cost, and a chance to test drive our expertise for future projects. Plus (of course) access to lawyers who can use our own networks to help our clients build their own business network, introducing them to director candidates , key employees, customers and suppliers.

Please let us know what you think.

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