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Home / SmartTech / Verified Expert Lawyer: Leslee Cohen – TechCrunch

Verified Expert Lawyer: Leslee Cohen – TechCrunch



Leslee Cohen has been practicing law for decades in her hometown of Chicago. Her own firm (Hershman Cohen) and expanding along with the city's tech scene.


On her approach:

"I have one partner and we have now hired two other women to join us. We are extremely conscious of the fact that startups and small businesses have a lot of important uses for their dollars other than legal fees. We are all senior-level attorneys and we never double bill.

"Leslee's ability to make even the most complicated issues simple and Larry Bellack, Chicago, President, Mobile Doorman

"The pressure at the big firm is how many hours have you been billed?" I have a quick question in my prior days as a big firm attorney, my thought was 'I get to put .2 on my billing sheet.' And that's just the complete opposite of what our practice is about; it's about forming those relationships with startups and continuing to serve as general counsel for the future as possible. Having our clients tell everyone how great we are is so much more important to me than to an extra .5 on a timesheet. "

On founder-investor relations:

"I feel that maintaining the founder's relationship with his investors is of great importance, even through sometimes difficult negotiations, and make every effort to be the lawyer that fosters that relationship rather than hindering it in any way. Arose ̵

1; the founder's first good reaction was fury and how could you say that to me and how could I do it? I'm gonna call her and tell her what I think. 'My response was' write out on email with everything you want to say and send it to me and then we're gonna delete it. Two weeks ago you loved each other and you're going to again.

"So the gory wrote that email, and it was vicious, and then he called me back two hours later to thank me profusely. Sure enough they sat down, talked it out, and their relationship is strong again. "

Below, you'll find the rest of the founder's reviews, the full interview, and more details like their pricing and fee structures.

This article is a part of our ongoing series covering the early-stage startup lawyers who founders love to work with. If you're trying to navigate the early-stage legal landmines, be sure to check out our in-depth articles on how to do this company.


The Interview:

Eric Eldon: How does your practice work, given that you've struck out of a big law firm to cofound a boutique firm?

Leslee Cohen: One is startup formation and I'm working with those 'I have an idea' kind of companies. I'll talk for an hour or two about who is at the moment, but usually other than entity formation – which is a paralegal can do – you probably should focus on developing your idea. Once someone is ready to start a company, I'll do it all that stage, even pre-funding, and help with entity selection and formation, organizational documents, bylaws and what-have-you.

And then co-founder agreements, a lot of co-founder agreements. I think that's really important, I understand I'm starting a company with my sister or with my best friend from kindergarten that's not your first thing you want to spend on terms of legal fees. But, with those few exceptions, I've seen so many co-founder breakups that it's really important to me.

The more common way that companies come to me when they're raising their seed round. I want work with them on SAFE and convertible note rounds. I want to work with them on the disclosure part of the round, the SEC filings, any state filings necessary, structuring the round, what it's going to look like. And then the companies have money and start hiring their first employees. I also provide a privacy policy, terms of use, NDAs, and then once they start doing business, day-to-day contracts with customers and on the other side with vendors and suppliers.

Eldon: How does this compare.

[19455917] Eldon: How does this compare

Cohen: I was in that world, so I understand what goes on – the fees, and really the pressure to bill hours – and that's my

I have one partner and now we have two other women to join us. We are extremely conscious of the fact that startups and small businesses have a lot of important uses for their dollars other than legal fees. We are all senior-level attorneys and we never double bill. Those additional hours are not billed.


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