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What is the difference between a startup lawyer and a corporate lawyer?

Most businesses are faced with legal issues involving the type of company to be incorporated, corporate compliance, employment law and taxation on a regular basis. However, your specific needs may be different based on whether you are launching a startup or whether you are already established as a corporate entity.

If your are launching a startup, beware to consult a lawyer who is specialized in venture capital law and startup matters. Such lawyer is better placed to structure and lead an investment round financed by a venture capital firm or by angel investors, draft a convertible loan or a SAFE agreement, and will be particularly more attentive to your business needs.

If your company is already well established, your needs will be more focused on legal compliance and may involve acquiring another business. A corporate lawyer will guide you through complex laws and is able to draft and review your business agreements to keep your business running smoothly and compliant with latest laws and regulations. In addition, a corporate lawyer can take you through a lawsuit if things aren’t running smoothly.

What should you expect from your first meeting with a business lawyer?

The first time you meet with your business lawyer he or she will ask you about (i) the history of your business, (ii) if you have more than one company, how are your companies organized, (iii) the challenges you are facing, (iv) and what are your goals for the future of your business. Because small business owners and managers are so closely tied to their businesses, a business lawyer would want to ask you questions about yourself too.

Once your lawyer understands your current situation, he or she will be able to provide you guidance about what legal structure to choose, the legal requirements to keep your business in good standing, your intellectual property protection strategy, your employment matters and the available exit strategies. The lawyer will then send you an engagement letter outlining the services he or she will be offering you and the fees related to such engagement. Once you agree, your lawyer will start taking care of your legal matters and provide you with regular updates on his or her progress.

Did you know?

Value added tax (VAT) has been introduced in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for the first time. The 5% levy is being applied to the majority of goods and services. Do not forget to register your business for VAT.
The other members of the Gulf Co-operation Council (i.e. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar) are also willing to introduce VAT, though some have delayed plans until at least 2019.