Legal 1on1: Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP



  • 50-minute appointments available with Dirk Michels, Partner & Jonathan P. Blum, Associate

    9:00am-12:00pm - 50-minute appointments available

    Legal One on Ones provide an opportunity to meet with qualified start-up attorneys and receive council on your company's legal needs. Get help with issues pertaining to intellectual property, type of entity and more. Legal One on Ones also provide a good opportunity to find the right law firm for your business.

    Appointments are available to SDForum members. Please email your appointment request to [email protected] by 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4. See below for more details on this session and for attorney bios.

    In the Starting Gate: Issues for Entrepreneurs
    Entrepreneurs face numerous challenges during the various stages of business growth, beginning with the initial product or service idea and continuing through the development of a profitable company. Making the right decisions and adopting the right strategies early in each of the stages of growth can greatly improve a start-up company’s chances of succeeding. One of the first things an entrepreneur should do is select business, financial, and legal advisors who have expertise in counseling a company through the various stages of growth and can help the entrepreneur make decisions from the outset with practical advice about the likely long-term consequences of each decision. Here are some of the decisions and tasks an entrepreneur will face at each of the four key stages involved in turning an idea into a business.

    Before Starting Up (Look before you leap)
    -Engage in pre-incorporation planning, including selecting the form of organization (corporation, S corporation, limited liability company, partnership).
    -Develop a business plan that defines your strategic objectives and how you will reach them. Will you stick with the business until it is fully mature, or will there be cash-out and “exit strategy” opportunities you will want to consider?
    -Allocate ownership of the business among the entrepreneur, family and friends, and business and financial players.
    -Create and protect intellectual property rights (trademarks, copyrights, patents).

    Start-Up (Through the starting gate; no turning back)
    -Locate and structure seed financing: venture capital, personal savings, or family and friends?
    -Find and outfit office and plant space to meet the dual goals of saving precious cash and providing for long-term needs: How much is too little, how much is too much?
    -Design and implement equity incentive programs, such as stock option plans, for employees, directors, and consultants.
    -Staff the enterprise: How will you get good people with little or no money?

    Initial Operations (Growth, turbulence, and evolution)
    -Establish sales capabilities, including initiating and developing relationships with distributors.
    -Develop intellectual property through technology licensing: license in to obtain what you need but do not have, and license out to optimize the value of what you do have.
    -Identify, structure, and negotiate strategic collaborations.
    -Enhance employee benefit programs and executive compensation packages. Have employees sign non-compete and confidentiality agreements.
    -Locate and negotiate terms of additional funding.
    -Identify insurance/product liability protection needs.

    Expansion (Set to take off)
    -Weigh the benefits and the risks of expanding.
    -Establish a management team that can take the enterprise to new levels.
    -Decide how the expansion will be accomplished: by expanding plant/production, acquiring other businesses, or both?
    -Identify sources and methods of financing the expansion: cash flow from operations, bank loans, industrial development bonds, equipment leases, venture financing, or initial public offering?
    -Identify and negotiate joint ventures and corporate collaborations.
    -Consider and respond to overtures to sell your business.
    -Consider personal tax and financial issues arising from ownership of and receipt of proceeds from a growing business.

    Kirkpatrick & Lockhart attorneys work regularly with emerging growth clients at all stages of business development. We believe that the knowledge we have gained from representing at various times each of the key players in the entrepreneurial game, including the entrepreneurs themselves, private investors, venture capital funds, institutional lenders, investment banks, large corporate partners and management groups, enhances our ability to guide the start-up entrepreneur through the planning stages and beyond. Our attorneys take special pride in the process of working with a business from the earliest stages and seeing it through to profitability.

    Jonathan P. Blum, Associate
    Mr. Blum’s practice focuses on general business transactions, with an emphasis on start-up enterprises and high-technology businesses. His experience includes choice of entity issues, formation, capitalization, stock option plans, licensing agreements, employment agreements, private placements, mergers and acquisitions, and other corporate, securities, and general business matters. Prior to joining Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, Mr. Blum worked with law firms in San Francisco and Silicon Valley where he represented high technology and start-up companies.

    Dirk Michels, Partner
    Areas of practice inlcude Corporate and Securities Practice, Mergers and Acquisition Practice, Electronic Commerce and Technology Practice, Intellectual Property Practice, and International Practice Groups. Mr. Michel's primary practice areas are international business transactions, corporate, financing, licensing and intellectual property rights. The clients he represents include domestic and foreign, especially German, entities doing business in the United States and Europe. He focuses on primarily small and mid-cap companies in the high technology, electronic commerce, and renewable energy industries.


    SDForum Center
    111 West Saint John, Suite 200
    San Jose, CA