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So, people are always asking me: “Why did you start your own law firm? Why do you focus on startups? Why not focus on established, medium-sized enterprise clients?” And the answer is: I have done that already. I worked for two full-service law firms, working with larger companies. And before that, I was an investment banker working with companies in the agricultural space, aerospace and defense, and a variety of other markets doing mergers and acquisitions, both for boutique investment banks, as well as larger investment banks.
But I’ve always had an entrepreneurial drive, spirit and passion and I love that energy that my clients have. When I was young, I enlisted the help of my grandmother to set up 1-900 lines that were for people to call in for stock quotes and for sports scores for hockey, basketball, baseball, etc. And they would be charged some cents per minute. That was my first entree into a business career and that was at 12. I’ve also loved investing in financial markets, which I’ve also been doing since age 12. And most of all, I love entrepreneurs and being around entrepreneurs. When I was in college, I started a hair care company. And when I was in high school, I started a company called “Knives and More,” which was originally a sporting goods company that I started very early on in the e-comm days. Because of high demand for kitchen knives, particularly in Asia. My partner and I spun that off into this company “Knives and More” where we sold kitchen knives and hunting knives. We ended up closing that business before we went to college but it was fairly successful and it taught us how to run a business, how to create an e-comm site in the early days when shopping cart software was really, really limited. We were literally taking pictures of items and posting them on the web, enhancing them in Photoshop and trying to learn the ins and outs of marketing and advertising.
So we fast forward to now and I’ve worked for full-service law firms and investment banks but I always wanted to own my own business. And if you would’ve asked me if I would have owned a law firm and be running a law firm, I would’ve laughed at you a couple years ago. But, I found that working in my last law firm, I had the opportunity to bring on some startup clients and that firm was more geared towards the mid to large companies. They did not really want to focus on that particular area of the market, for good reason, because startups are risky. Founders are always demanding innovative fee structures, discounts and deferrals – so I get it!
But for me, it’s about the passion and energy. It’s creating something new, something disruptive. Taking something on as your baby and seeing that baby grow and thrive. And being able to really touch what drives you internally. And for me, that passion is helping entrepreneurs and founders achieve their goals and their dreams while providing very strong legal advice based on a background from investment banking and mergers and acquisitions in the corporate legal arena. Being able to take that experience that I have and counsel my clients on the various pitfalls and strategies that they should take in growing their company and protecting themselves from many different aspects including taxation, intellectual property and other liability. A lot of founders who maybe focused on one area and are experts in their field, may not have the expertise in the legal field. That’s why I think it’s important to have a law firm and lawyers that have a background in the field of corporate law and have worked in transactional arenas and employment arenas, so that they can really advise their startup clients in the best way.
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