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Diana Palchik, Esq.
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Dallas Startup Lawyers
Legal Tips and Information
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Great Dallas Startup Attorney?
New businesses in need of a startup lawyer in Dallas may wonder if they are at a disadvantage if their budget can’t stretch to meet the rates of the most well-known attorneys at the largest firms. Many Dallas start up attorneys are available to begin work immediately on common startup issues and it isn’t necessary to retain them full-time.
One of the many advantages to hiring legal assistance on an as-needed basis is that the founders of the startup are free to choose a lawyer who specializes area where they need assistance. Here are some of the things that should be included in an LLC formation quote from a startup lawyer in Dallas:
- Name search
- Bank resolutions
- Single member LLC operating agreement
- Articles of organization
- Attorney consultation (by phone or in person)
- Membership certificate
- Customization minutes
- Filing services
Legal Needs for a Texas Startup Setting Up Their Business
Hiring a lawyer very early in the setup process can help busy startup founders avoid common early mistakes. A great startup lawyer asks the right questions when it matters most and brings possible scenarios and opportunities to the founders’ attention that may of otherwise gone unnoticed.
Hiring a startup lawyer allows entrepreneurs to take advantage of an entirely different point of view. The best startup attorneys are talented advisors that contribute to the kind of thoughtful decision making that can put a startup on the fast track to success.
In a supportive role, a Dallas startup lawyer can help the company explore options, provide objective and data-driven information to help with decision making, and ask important questions.
LLC’s forming in Texas also need to be aware of the state’s requirements where the following common scenarios are concerned:
New Hire Reports : LLC’s must file a report with the state of Texas when they make a new hire.
State Unemployment Tax ID Number : Any company that pays wages must have an Unemployment ID according to Texas unemployment withholding laws.
Texas Sales & Use Permit : LLC’s that resell products must have a Sales & Use Permit to avoid paying sales tax on purchases made for resale.
Federal Tax ID Number : Also known as the EIN (employer identification number), a Federal Tax ID Number is required for every LLC doing business in Texas and is assigned by the IRS.
Registered Agent Service : Texas LLC’s must have a Registered Agent listed on the company’s Articles of Organization so that it’s possible for the local sheriff to serve the company in the event that they are sued. Companies located in Texas that have regular business hours may serve as their own Registered Agent, or a lawyer can serve as the Registered Agent for an annual fee set by the firm.
International Taxpayer ID (ITIN for permanent residents and non-US citizens) : If startup founders are not US citizens and do not have a US Green Card or a US Social Security Number, they are required to obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number in order to comply with the IRS requirement that they file tax returns each year.
Doing Business As (DBA) registration : Companies in Texas that wish to do business under a name other than their LLC’s registered name must register a fictitious DBA name with the state.
Why Should a New Company Hire a Startup Attorney?
Laying the foundation for a successful future is much easier with the help of experienced and trustworthy counsel. Hiring the best startup attorney for a particular situation is the key to success. Establishing operational practices with preventing future litigation in mind is a smart move and should be at the core of the business plan for an emerging company.
The best startup attorneys offer many services tailored to meet the needs of emerging businesses in the area. Here are just a few basic services they offer:
- Open source IP
- Employment and labor law for Texas-based startups
- DE corporate governance
- Real estate
- Mergers and acquisitions (M&A)
- Patent litigation
- Commercial litigation
- Data security and privacy including HIPAA and financial data privacy
- Employee compensation and benefits
- Environmental consulting
- Securities regulation
- Tech transactions including OEM, distribution agreements, licensing, reseller agreements, etc
- Texas and U.S. tax law
- Patent prosecution
Dallas startup attorneys collaborate on big issues and startups count on them to make sure they are well-represented. Focused firms with specialties are a great asset to new companies because they have a wealth of experience in a very tiny area of the law. With the help of advances SaaS and collaboration tools, specialty law firms can make sure the work they are doing on a project doesn’t present any conflicts that may harm their clients.
How to Choose the Best Startup Attorney
Choosing general counsel to work with a growing startup can be a very stressful proposition. It’s important to choose carefully and in addition to considering the rates, background, and experience of the lawyer, consider whether that person is a good fit for the culture and risk-tolerance of the founders and the company as a whole.
Before deciding which lawyer to hire, consider these questions:
What is the Fee Structure?
Understanding how much they will be paying for legal services is important, of course. Rates for startup lawyers vary widely. A new company with a small budget may get scared off by hourly rates that reach up into the hundreds of dollars. Asking for an estimate of how many hours a certain task will take the attorney may help ease some of the mental burden.
When forming an LLC, fees can range from $100 to well over $10,000. The cost depends on whether the lawyer charges a flat fee for a package service or an hourly rate. It’s OK to hire a basic-needs focused lawyer in the initial phase of the startup.
Some lawyers charge a flat fee for services that every startup needs. For example, forming an LLC and filing the appropriate paperwork is a necessity. An experienced startup lawyer will have experience with this type of work and will be able to offer a solid estimate about how long it will take or even offer the work for a flat fee.
Do They Have Experience With Early Stage Companies?
Building a legal infrastructure that the company can rely on to both keep them out of trouble and help them pursue growth should be the goal of an early-stage startup lawyer. Finding out if they have successfully completed this specific type of work in the past for other companies will help to determine if they are a good fit.
What is Their Experience in the Specific Niche of the Startup?
Legal council should understand the key elements of the startup niche they are working with. They need to know what problems to be on the lookout for, as well as how to spot opportunities that the founders may have missed or simply aren’t in a position to see clearly.
Firms that are experts with contract preparation and handling the basic legal needs of new companies are great to work with, but unless the attorney really understands the industry the startup exists within, there won’t be a far-reaching benefit in the relationship for the founders.
What’s Going on With Startups in Dallas?
Dallas is a great place to start a company. The pro-business community combined with the low cost of living and central location make this anchor of the south a popular startup hub. It’s a 2.5-hour flight to either coast from DFW, which makes it a convenient location for businesses that intent to grow quickly.
Notable startups in Dallas include the projection-bases POP platform digital company Glass-Media, Inc. Their software performs real-time analytics while their print media gives customers the kind of interaction and engagement they crave.
Open Key offers keyless hotel room entry via smartphone, redefining the manner in which hotel guests access their room. Mizzen + Main is a menswear company that uses advanced performance fabrics to dress clothes. 5Miles is a mobile marketplace that focuses on being local. Much like Craigslist, this online shopping venture is just a year old and is the first app that offers jobs, housing, services, and goods for sale and trade between members of the community.
Technology Startups in Dallas
Texas is home to some powerhouse tech startups, including NASA, AT&T, Shell, 3M, the Houston Chronicle, Dell, AMD, and Hewlett-Packard. Broadcast.com, founded by Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, was purchased twenty years ago for $5.7 billion leading the way for tech startups in south.
Dallas is one of the hottest spots for entrepreneurs, and its proximity to other great tech ecosystems in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City helps to create a powerful tech ecosystem.
The strong tech startup community really shines during Dallas Startup Week, held in the spring of each year. The mature entrepreneur base is attracting the attention of investors and they understand what Dallas entrepreneurs need to take the overall success of the startup community to the next level.
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