Startup Lawyers at the Outskirts

50 Willamette Law Review 163 (2014)

UC Hastings Research Paper No. 100

32 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2014 Last revised: 26 Apr 2014

Date Written: March 1, 2014


Startup lawyering is a distinctive style of law practice first observed in Silicon Valley decades ago. Like other business lawyers, startup lawyers form entities, protect intellectual property rights, and document financing transactions for clients starting new businesses. But startup lawyers also encourage entrepreneurship more broadly by promoting Silicon Valley’s practices and conventions, such as standard contract terms that streamline negotiations with venture capital investors.

Today, startup lawyers practice not only in established entrepreneurial centers such as Silicon Valley or Boston, but also in the shadow of economic development efforts to promote entrepreneurship. In this new context, startup lawyering is susceptible to both positive and negative assessments: as productive and professionally satisfying civic engagement or as wasteful rent seeking. Based on the author’s personal experiences and the academic literature, this essay identifies circumstances that support the more favorable view.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, legal ethics, economic development, venture capital

JEL Classification: K22, O18, O31, R00

Suggested Citation

Cable, Abraham, Startup Lawyers at the Outskirts (March 1, 2014). 50 Willamette Law Review 163 (2014), UC Hastings Research Paper No. 100, Available at SSRN:

Abraham Cable (Contact Author)

UC Hastings Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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