Intellectual property rights, patent law, incorporation, equity distribution.... Navigating the legalities of starting a business can seem like an impossible feat, especially when one misstep could spell major trouble down the line. With an abundance of questions and limited resources, startups can’t afford to keep top legal minds on retainer for whenever an issue pops up.

Time and money are vital to a fledgling company's success, so save both with this list of legal resources especially for entrepreneurs. Note: This list is a collection, not a ranking. 

Articles & Advice

Blogs

Websites

  • Entrepreneur's Legal Basics for Startups, a collection of expert articles and videos from Entrepreneur magazine
  • Startup Company Lawyer answers hundreds of specific questions, from incorporation to stock options
  • Startup Lawyer has articles on topics like incorporation and equity, plus a helpful glossary of terms
  • Quora Term Sheet is a collection of legal resources for entrepreneurs and investors hosted on Quora
  • Upcounsel is a service that matches entrepreneurs to legal professionals based on their specific needs
  • Small Business and the SEC is the official SEC guide to complying with federal securities laws while raising capital
  • Rocket Lawyer has a collection of sample documents and a group of on-call attorneys to answer your legal questions
  • Start-Up Launchpad holds educational materials, checklists, and sample legal documents

Templates

Tools

  • Founders Workbench Access useful tools such as: capital calculator, financing terms dictionary, tax considerations, intellectual property laws, and more
  • Markify Searchable trademark database
  • Viewabill View all billable activity by your lawyer: accruals, hours, and average rate
  • Google Patent Search Use Google to search for existing patents
  • US Patent & Trademark Office File a patent, register a trademark, and review intellectual property laws

Finding a Lawyer

  • LawKick Find a lawyer based on price, reviews, and qualifications
  • LawTrades Get matched with a lawyer at your budget, plus free consultation, price quote, client reviews, and law office profiles
  • LawGives Choose from a selection of flat-fee legal services packages
  • FINRA BrokerCheck Research brokers, firms, investment adviser representatives and investment adviser firms
  • ShouldISign.com Post a request and receive fixed-fee proposals from vetted attorneys, and check out their bank of free legal forms

Checklists

What would you add to this list?

Once you've set up your legal framework, find the tools you need to launch your business: 25 Tools to Run Your Startup.

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