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The Top Ten (Sixteen) Lies of Lawyers

The Top Ten (Sixteen) Lies of Lawyers

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Published by: SAtAN on Nov 13, 2008
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The Top Ten (Sixteen) Lies of Lawyers
Tuesday, September 25, 2007 
Guy Kawasaki, Always On Network, http://guykawasaki.com/about/index.shtmlLike CEOs, marketers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists, lawyers tell their own specialized tales.Most of my experience is with lawyers who do work for tech entrepreneurs, so this is my focus.1. “I’m really excited about what you are doing and will give your company my personal attention.” Once someonegets to the partner level, making it “rain” is as important as doing “work.” This is part of a standard sales pitch, sodon’t let it go to your head.2. “Our firm is really excited about what you’re doing, so we’d like to invest in your company too.” Also part of thestandard sales pitch. Most firms invest in most of their startup clients—it’s simply the law of big numbers: Invest inenough dumb ideas, and one will turn out to be a Google.3. “We can work on the billing so that you pay us when you get financed.” The final flattery in a good sales pitch. Aswith the others, don’t think you’re special. This is a common offer.4. “I’ll have that to you by the end of the day.” The important question for you to ask when you hear this is, “End of exactly which day?” Because every day has an end.5. “Don’t worry about the date on that option grant; it’s not a big deal.” Unless you enjoy getting indicted, you shouldrun from a lawyer who utters such stupidity.6. “The bill would be lower if it weren’t for the lawyers on the other side.” You do realize that the lawyers on the other side are saying this about your lawyers too, right?7. “I thought you were more interested in getting it right rather than saving a few dollars.” In other words, the legal billfor your series A funding may exceed the amount of capital raised.8. “Your case is much stronger than theirs; I’m sure we can convince them.” If your position is so strong, you don’tneed lawyers. It’s when your position is weak that you need them. Also, your opponent is hearing the same thingabout their case.9. “We have relationships at the highest level in Shanghai/Munich/Mumbai/New York/LA.” In other words, someonefrom the firm once flew in first class to Shanghai/Munich/Mumbai/New York/LA with the vice premier’s uncle’s sister’snephew.10. “We’d much rather be on the company side than on the investor side.” Let me get this straight: Your lawyer wouldrather be on the side of two guys/gals in garage who are raising $500,000 than a venture capital fund managing $500million whose partners play golf at the same country club?11. “We usually don’t bill the full retainer; it only happens if there are unforeseen issues that come up.” One of twothings is happening: either you’ve been sandbagged with an artificially high estimate or your lawyer just passed thebar.12. “Sure we’re busy, but I’ll make sure you don’t get handed off to a green associate.” Translation: Your main contactpassed the bar a year ago.13. “I’ve done work with Google/Microsoft/Apple, so I know how to structure deals with them.” Translation: “My

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