Did you know there are dozens of programs providing funding to help pay for incorporation, employment agreements, contract reviews, and other legal services for startups? Below is a list of programs that can help you get excellent legal help on a shoestring budget. We’ve sorted them by region to help you find opportunities relevant to your business.
Know a grant funding opportunity that you think should be included here? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're running a business, especially a growing one, you might find yourself grappling with an ever-increasing number of legal issues. Whether it's about contracts, intellectual property rights, compliance, or potential lawsuits, having consistent legal advice becomes essential. However, hiring a full-time in-house lawyer may not be cost-effective or practical for many small to medium-sized businesses. This is where a Fractional General Counsel (FGC) can shine. Below are 10 reasons to consider hiring an FGC for your business.
One of the greatest benefits of a Fractional General Counsel is that they deeply understand your business. We work hard to match you with a lawyer who fits your company culture and budget, and who has relevant expertise. This ensures that you get tailored legal solutions that fit the overarching business objectives of your organization.
“We immediately realized the advantages and efficiencies — quick response times from someone embedded on our team who can channel our culture, vision and strategy in their decision making — at a fraction of the cost.” — Rob Park, Former COO at Helcim
Instead of spending hours trying to navigate complex legal landscapes, you can focus on what you do best: running your business. Just see how it helped the CEO of Trufla Technologies get his time back!
Hiring a full-time in-house lawyer can be expensive. A lawyer with 10 years of experience can easily demand $200,000 per year. A Fractional General Counsel provides you access to an experienced lawyer without the overhead of a full-time salary, benefits, and other associated costs.
With Fractional General Counsel, you have access to experienced legal professionals without the friction of having to engage external counsel. Simply send them an email, text, Slack message, carrier pigeon or phone call - and get specialized advice when you need it.
“The openness, availability, and responsiveness that we have with our Fractional Counsel is something we never experienced with our previous legal provider.” — Jodie Allan, General Manager at PowerBill
FGC engagements are flexible in order to fit your needs. Scale their services up or down based on your business needs and budget. Best of all, you don't pay for the time you don't use. Unused hours are rolled forward for future use.
“We are getting far more value from the Fractional General Counsel model than we have in the past with other legal service providers. The flexibility and accommodation to our business model and needs has been refreshing.” — Ryan Mueller, CEO of Phantom Compliance
Risk management is not just about avoiding legal troubles but also seizing opportunities. A Fractional General Counsel can help you take evidence-based strategic risks while giving you the confidence to adapt when the excrement hits the oscillating device. This approach can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.
Complex legal matters require specialized lawyers, leaving some businesses juggling multiple external providers. A Fractional General Counsel can identify, onboard, and supervise legal specialists and ensure they are billing you fairly. The shared language of lawyers makes it easy for an FGC to collaborate and guide external counsel on business objectives and broader context.
“We found that we had to deal with many different firms and lawyers, retelling our story repeatedly. With Goodlawyer, it’s all under one roof… It frees me up and saves us money.” — Mike Bignold, Founder & CEO of CostCertified
Laws and regulations change. A Fractional General Counsel ensures you stay compliant and informed about the latest legal changes that could affect your business. They can also help you predict future changes and skate to where the puck is going.
A Fractional General Counsel is integrated into your business operations, ensuring smooth collaboration with your team and stakeholders. Many function like any other team member, with a company email and title like General Counsel or VP of Legal. They can be a trusted voice at the boardroom table and represent your interests at the negotiating table.
“It’s been a huge load off my busy plate, and I love the peace of mind knowing our Fractional Counsel is guiding my team and me at critical moments.” — Brenda Beckedorf, Former Executive Director at Alberta IoT
Beyond legal advice, a Fractional General Counsel often serves as a sounding board for business decisions, providing a well-rounded perspective that combines both legal and business insights. FGCs typically have 10+ years of expertise relevant to your industry. They understand your sector, competitors, regulators, and other stakeholders who can be key to your growth journey.
A Fractional General Counsel is not just for businesses that can't afford a full-time lawyer. It's for businesses that want to free up their executive team with a responsive, trusted, and cost-effective legal solution. It's about having a tailored legal solution that provides on-demand access to someone who truly understands your business.
Business growth inevitably brings legal complexities. With your business speeding towards success, you're considering the transition from relying on external counsel to building your in-house legal function. But is hiring a full-time lawyer the right move? Or is there a more flexible, cost-effective solution? Let us introduce you to the concept of Fractional General Counsel (FGC).
FGC is an in-house legal solution tailored to your needs. Fractional General Counsel aren’t full-time employees. Typically they work 15-30 hours per month; but they're there when you need them. They manage your operational legal needs at a volume and monthly price that makes sense for your business.
These legal professionals are a godsend for scaleups and fast-moving enterprise clients. They serve as your in-house legal team and tackle everything from enterprise contracts, employment and HR to corporate governance. The result is often a freed-up executive team, reduced risk and increased deal velocity.
Your business's relationship with your Fractional General Counsel is fundamentally different from an external legal provider (i.e. a traditional law firm). While an external legal provider offers valuable expertise, they often don’t have the same depth of understanding of your business, your risk tolerance, or your objectives. They can also be less responsive than you might like — especially when it comes to your day-to-day operational legal needs like commercial contracts, regulatory compliance and employment matters.
External legal service providers are often unresponsive because they’re focused on major legal milestones like financings and M&A transactions, so they can be slower to respond to operational legal matters.
"There's a reason that every large enterprise eventually builds an in-house legal team — to ensure their legal work is dealt with quickly, cost-effectively, and in tune with the overarching business objectives of the organization. That last piece, deeply understanding the business, is perhaps the greatest benefit of having an in-house legal function," says Brett Colvin, co-founder and CEO of Goodlawyer.
Fractional General Counsel do much more than just fill a void; they quickly become integral members of your executive team, saving you time and money, and adding a business lens to the legal problems you face on a daily basis. They integrate into your operations by adopting a company email, joining your Slack, or using whatever communication tool works best for your team. They can also design processes to speed up your legal processes.
Many scaleups rely on Fractional General Counsel to manage the fast-paced operational legal needs and retain their external counsel on certain matters, particularly milestone events like funding rounds or M&As. In such cases, the FGC and external counsel can coexist and even become greater than the sum of their parts. The shared language of lawyers makes it easy for FGCs to collaborate and guide external counsel on business objectives and broader context.
Patrick Veilleux, a Fractional General Counsel at Goodlawyer, exemplifies the value of an FGC. Following five successful years at Shopify as Director of Legal, and stints on Bay Street and with the federal government, Veilleux missed the thrill of working with fast-growing Canadian scaleups. So in 2023, he joined Goodlawyer’s FGC ranks.
In Patrick’s words, "Being a Fractional Counsel enables me to provide sophisticated scaleup clients with both legal and strategic insights. The opportunity to be at the table during critical planning sessions empowers me to identify risks and opportunities proactively and help my clients chart the best path forward. It's also been incredibly rewarding to leverage my past experiences to help support some of the most exciting technology businesses in the country.”
Want to learn whether Fractional General Counsel might suit your business? Click the button below to set up a conversation with a senior member of the Goodlawyer team. We'll explore your legal requirements, analyze your annual legal budget, and determine if you need industry specialists or senior legal expertise. Our team will also introduce you to vetted candidates tailored to your business. A pilot engagement can allow you to gauge the efficacy of this model for your growing business.
With the dynamism of your scaleup and the legal intricacies that come with growth, it's essential to have legal counsel who understands your business and can respond quickly to your needs. The value lies in your FGC’s ability to provide both legal and strategic insights, like a dedicated in-house team, but at a fraction of the cost. Explore Goodlawyer's Fractional General Counsel services and discover how this innovative legal solution could boost your scaleup's journey.
Ready to embark on a thrilling solo adventure as a Canadian lawyer? Buckle up friend, the legal world is about to get a whole lot brighter! Whether you're bidding adieu to a big traditional firm, an in-house gig, or even the government, taking the leap into solo practice requires some serious planning and preparation. But fear not, for we've gathered the top 10 tips from seasoned Goodlawyer’s who have taken over the Canadian legal landscape on their own terms. So, let's dive into what is hopefully a delightful dose of inspiration!
Who said you need fancy, overpriced resources to thrive? Seek out affordable gems that suit your working style — think budget-friendly practice management and billing software, administrative support (virtual and/or fractional options), and nifty tools to keep your inbox and calendar in check. By keeping your overhead costs low and increasing the efficiency of your practice, you'll have extra funds to sprinkle into growth.
Cheat code: if you’re interested in a one-stop shop for legal operations support, Goodlawyer offers all this and more to its lawyer network!
Clients aren't just interested in legal services; they want someone they can relate to. So, be your fabulous, authentic self! Show off your approachable side, build those personal connections, and watch your clients swoon. When you're real and relatable, trust and loyalty will come knocking at your door. If the client still isn’t interested, keep calm and lawyer on; chances are high you’ve dodged what would’ve been a misaligned relationship!
Picture this: you, standing proud, armed with a unique value proposition in one hand, a clear understanding of the services you offer in the other, and a laser-focused target market as your sword and your shield. It's time to create your own legal destiny! Craft a compelling position statement that sets you apart from the pack and attracts the right clients and the work you love like moths to a legal flame. You're a lawyering superstar, after all!
Now, here's a secret sauce to success — forge connections with other lawyers far and wide, whether from your previous legal world or in your new solo practitioner/small firm world!
These relationships can be your golden ticket to referrals and increased visibility in the legal community. Attend events and conferences, and hop into online groups to meet fellow legal eagles in and out of your field. It's like building your very own legal Avengers team!
Easy button: Goodlawyer gives you access to a highly engaged and supportive network of other Goodlawyers ready to help whether you need a second opinion, precedents, legal tech suggestions to level up, or a calming meditative playlist!
As a solo practitioner, you're the captain of your financial ship. So, it's time to dust off your accounting superhero gear and conquer those financial statements with relish. This is a must for smooth sailing on the ethical and legal seas! Embrace the numbers, avoid ever-present financial whirlpools, and become the guiding star of your own financial destiny.
Not every potential client is a match made in legal heaven, my friend. Watch for those red flags and gracefully decline clients who might bring more chaos than harmony to your practice. Trust your spidey senses and your past experiences. Remember, your time, effort, and reputation are highly precious gems, so align and re-align these gems with the clients you choose to work with. You deserve the cream of the client crop!
In the variable world of solo practice, income can be as unpredictable as a tea party with the Mad Hatter. So, it's time to save up for those rainy days. Start with a modest salary and squirrel away three months' worth of savings. Then, gradually increase your pay until you have a comfortable cushion of six months' worth of savings. Rain or shine, you're ready for anything the legal universe sends your way!
When the cash flow slows down, the temptation might knock on your door, urging you to take on clients and matters you'd usually pass on. But hold your ground, dear lawyer! Only accept clients and matters that match your values and that you would handle even if money were falling from the sky. Stay true and be authentic to your legal soul, and success will follow suit.
Building a thriving solo practice that suits your life and practice goals takes time. So, be kind to yourself on this epic journey. Start by working from the comfort of your own space until you're ready to set yourself up in a fancy office; not only are you avoiding the extra overhead and expense, but you might fall in love with a whole new way of working! Embrace the wonders of legal tech to keep your clients happy without the hassle of office visits and to avoid the gargantuan email chains just to schedule a call. Cheers to working smarter, not harder!
Ah, taxes — the bane of every lawyer's (and human’s) existence! If you're not drawing a regular salary, maybe you can tango with quarterly taxes in Canada. Put aside one-third of every payment into a separate savings account, dedicated solely to the taxman. With this little trick up your sleeve, you'll breeze through tax season like a pro, avoiding any unwanted legal drama.
And voilà! You now possess the top 10 tips to conquer the Canadian legal world as a solo practitioner. Sprinkle them into your journey, dear legal trailblazer, and watch your practice soar to new heights. Wishing you endless success and all of the professional fun you can have in your marvelous solo adventure!
Conducting a trademark search is a crucial step in creating an identity for a business to operate in Canada. A trademark search will help you determine if a similar or identical trademark already exists. Setting up your business branding without checking existing trademarks opens you up to the risk of using another trademarked identity which results in wasted time, money, and possible legal complications.
A trademark is a type of intellectual property that provides legal protection for a brand or logo used by a person or business to distinguish their goods or services from others in the marketplace. It is a recognizable sign, symbol, design, word, phrase, or combination of these elements. Trademarks play a crucial role in business by establishing brand recognition, reputation, and consumer trust. They help consumers identify and differentiate between products or services ensuring they are getting what they expect from a particular brand.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) online database search will be the most up-to-date source for trademarks in Canada. The CIPO Online Database Search allows you to search the Canadian Trademarks Database, which contains registered and pending trademarks in Canada. Visit the CIPO website and access the Canadian Trademarks Database (https://ised-isde.canada.ca/cipo/trademark-search/srch) to get started.
Common law trademarks are those adopted and used without registration, and their owners can claim reputation and goodwill to prevent others from using or registering a similar mark. After conducting your search in the trademarks databases, it is important to conduct a common law search to check if any businesses are using a similar mark without registration. These common law rights are limited to the geographical areas where the mark is being used.
To search for common law trademarks, consider checking local business listings in the areas of intended trademark use. Conducting a search for business name registrations can provide insights into similar marks within your province. Checking for claimed domain names with various extensions (.com, .ca, .org, etc.) can also help assess potential conflicts.
Furthermore, search the web and social media platforms for businesses or goods/services associated with confusingly similar names and marks. This broader search can uncover additional potential obstacles or conflicts.
Conducting a common law search is important to assess potential conflicts beyond registered trademarks and ensure your proposed mark does not infringe on existing rights or create confusion in the marketplace.
After conducting your CIPO search and completing a common law search, carefully review the results to identify any potentially conflicting trademarks. Look for marks that are similar in terms of name, appearance, sound, or meaning.
If you encounter potentially conflicting trademarks or are unsure about the search results, it is advisable to consult with a trademark lawyer or agent. They can provide expert guidance and help you make an informed decision about the availability and registrability of your trademark. While conducting your own trademark search is very valuable, it is not a substitute for professional legal advice. A trademark professional can ensure your proposed trademark is adequately protected.
It is highly recommended to consult a trademark lawyer or registered trademark agent during the process of selecting a business name and trademark. They can conduct thorough searches, assess availability, and provide guidance before you invest in branding efforts. If the desired mark is unavailable, they can assist in finding an available and distinctive alternative. A trademark professional is also well suited to assist with more complicated situations, like when a trademark is intended to be used across multiple jurisdictions.
Engaging a trademark professional early in these situations can help ensure informed decision-making, allow for smoother and more likely-to-succeed trademark applications, and avoid potential conflicts or infringements which can lead to costly delays, loss of goodwill if you have to rebrand, and legal complications.
As a savvy entrepreneur, you know the branding of your business is a critical asset for your future success. Preventing problems is cheaper than correcting them; handle your trademark with the gravitas it deserves!
It’s hard to keep up with the latest in your industry, nevermind the innovations across other sectors, but this shift in the legal profession presents a huge opportunity for companies to better address their legal needs. We’ve put together this brief overview to bring you up to speed.
A generalist or specialist lawyer hired on a part-time, contractual basis to provide legal support and counsel for a company. A fractional lawyer might be hired to work on a special project, take on a surge in corporate legal work caused by recent growth, provide industry-specific legal advice to the executive team, assist with the operations within an in-house legal team, or act as a liaison between the company and external law firms.
No, but it is gaining popularity as executives grapple with uncertainty and the need to do more with less resources. Fractional in-house counsel offers executive teams the ability to address their legal needs in a cost-effective manner by hiring legal talent on a flexible, as-needed, basis.
Similar to other fractional c-suite executives, fractional legal counsel will be embedded into your team and provide insights that are pertinent to your business because they will know and understand your company with an insiders’ perspective.
Fractional in-house counsel is a solution often sought out by companies that are growing rapidly and need dialled-in, on-demand legal support that can scale and adapt faster than hiring in-house counsel or working with external counsel. Some examples include rapidly scaling businesses, institutions that require specialised legal assistance for special projects, companies that have seasonally fluctuating contract volumes, and large companies that need additional legal support faster than what a law firm can offer.
A wide variety of corporate generalist and industry specialized lawyers. One significant advantage to using fractional counsel is that businesses can gain access to top-tier legal talent without having to commit to the high costs associated with hiring an experienced in-house lawyer or working with external counsel through a law firm. Goodlawyer typically recommends lawyers with 10+ years of experience for fractional counsel roles while paying special attention to practice area experience, industry expertise, and corporate culture fit.
Fractional lawyers usually work on an hourly contract basis. In Canada, hourly rates can range from $100 to $500+ an hour depending on the lawyer’s experience and special expertise. Through Goodlawyer, it is possible to hire fractional counsel with 10+ years experience at approximately half their average hourly rate.
Businesses that don't have sufficient in-house legal support often rely on their executives to handle legal issues, taking away valuable time and resources from their primary responsibilities. Hiring a fractional general counsel allows executives to focus on their core responsibilities while rightfully leaving legal matters in the hands of a legal professional.
Fractional counsel can help businesses clarify and prioritise their legal needs and get important legal work done that would be otherwise delayed, neglected, or inefficiently handled. Fractional lawyers have a unique perspective to offer by mixing their external experience with in-house understanding. They can assist with internal legal functions and implement best practices to mitigate risks and ensure legal compliance. Fractional counsel can also help businesses develop legal competencies by working alongside existing in-house legal teams providing guidance, insights, and fresh perspectives.
We are always eager to discuss your unique company needs and the suitability of fractional counsel as a full service solution, or an addition to your company’s existing legal strategy.
A Quality Management System (QMS) is a set of policies and procedures that are implemented by a company to ensure that its products or services consistently meet or exceed customer requirements and expectations.
The Goodlawyer team has been working on defining, structuring, and testing our QMS system for some time and are proud to begin sharing our processes more publicly. We value transparency and want to keep our community updated on this important internal work.
Our goal with implementing our QMS system is to increase efficiency, reduce errors and ultimately improve satisfaction among our platform users; which includes both the lawyers providing services and the businesses seeking legal services and legal counsel.
Goodlawyer's QMS system is structured around five core pillars, each of which is owned by a specific team within the company:
Lawyer Recruitment, Vetting & Onboarding, is managed by the Legal Talent & Product team who are responsible for ensuring that only the best and most qualified lawyers are brought onto the Goodlawyer platform.
We use a multi-stage vetting process to screen candidates based on experience, expertise, and technical legal competence, as well as to ensure alignment with Goodlawyer's service delivery values. Once deemed suitable to join the Goodlawyer network, a new lawyer is guided through a multi-stage onboarding process which includes completing a detailed practice survey, subscribing to industry-leading lawyer-support tools, participating in technical training, and receiving check-ins.
Lawyer Matching, is managed by the Operations & Product team and is focused on ensuring that everyone is matched with the most suitable lawyers based on their unique needs and preferences.
Matching individuals and businesses with the right lawyer for their specific needs is important to facilitate the most productive working relationship and the best possible legal project outcome. This includes considering the lawyer’s technical and industry expertise and many other project factors such as budget, delivery timing, jurisdiction, and individual preferences. The Operations team maintains detailed knowledge of our lawyer network to make informed recommendations and our free initial consultations and lawyer interviews are an important part of the matching process.
Service Delivery & Support, also managed by the Operations & Product team, focuses on ensuring that everyone receives high-quality legal services and support throughout their engagement with Goodlawyer.
Our focus on providing support and resources to our users distinguishes Goodlawyer from most law firms. This includes providing lawyers with access to industry-leading precedents and legal research, offering customer experience support to facilitate effective communication and requesting accurate status updates and delivery timelines to ensure timely project deliveries.
Feedback, Analysis & Continuous Improvement, is also managed by the Operations & Product team. They are responsible for monitoring and analysing feedback to identify areas for improvement and implement changes that will enhance the overall Goodlawyer experience.
Unlike traditional law firms, Goodlawyer gathers feedback through platform-led reviews and ratings, customer experience followup calls, collecting results from product testing, and monthly town-hall style meetings and discussions with lawyers. Data is analysed regularly on project-based, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis to identify issues, learn from failures, continually improve processes, and make informed changes.
Incident Response, is managed by the Operations team and they are responsible for handling any incidents or issues that may arise during the delivery of legal services, ensuring that our users are always taken care of and that their needs are prioritised.
While it may be impossible to prevent all human errors, we believe we can work to mitigate problems proactively. This process involves identifying incidents, assessing severity and impact, containing them, investigating the root causes, implementing corrective responses, and taking steps to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. This is crucial for meeting and maintaining our high quality standards.
Our QMS system will continue to evolve as we implement, learn, and grow as an organisation. We look forward to sharing more updates as we refine these processes and welcome feedback from our community as well!
Fractional counsel refers to a lawyer that provides legal services on a part-time and flexible arrangement through a contractual agreement.
Fractional counsel lawyers are not employees of the company, but embed themselves within the executive team as if they were. Fractional lawyers may be retained for specific projects or to provide ongoing legal advice and representation on a regular basis. This fractional counsel model allows lawyers the flexibility to work for one or multiple companies, and allows company executives to hire one or more fractional lawyers as they need their services or special expertise without the commitment of hiring an employee.
In-house counsel refers to a lawyer or team of lawyers who are employees of a company and provide legal advice and representation exclusively to that company.
In-house counsel lawyers typically work full-time. A company with one in-house lawyer will typically employ a corporate generalist who can assist with all or most aspects of the company's legal matters, whereas a large company may employ a team of lawyers with many different specializations to serve all aspects of the business’ legal needs.
For many company executives, their early strategy to cover the business’ legal needs involves hiring a law firm. This external support typically does not provide the responsiveness, flexibility or scaling power needed for a business to grow efficiently.
Typically an in-house counsel lawyer is a full-time employee of a company and receives a salary and benefits package. The salary of an in-house counsel lawyer will vary depending on the experience of the lawyer and their expected deliverables for the company. A generalist in-house counsel salary could range from $150,000 to $400,000 or more per year.
In addition to the base salary and benefits, in-house counsel lawyers may also receive bonuses and equity compensation, and the total cost of an in-house counsel lawyer will also include additional expenses such as office space, equipment, and support staff.
The cost of a fractional lawyer will depend on the lawyer's level of experience, if they have unique industry expertise, and the complexity of the legal work involved.
In general, fractional counsel lawyers tend to charge hourly rates for a set number of hours, or flat fees for their services. Hourly rates can range anywhere from $150 to $500 per hour or more, and flat fees can also vary widely depending on the scope of the work involved and the expected time commitment.
Fractional lawyer engagements tend to be more flexible, contract-based, and a lower cost than hiring full-time in-house counsel.
One of the key benefits of fractional counsel is that it can be a more cost-effective option for businesses that don't need full-time legal support. It also provides flexibility in terms of the scope and duration of legal support, as well as the ability to tap into a broader range of legal expertise and experience.
Traditional in-house counsel can work well for companies that can afford to hire a full-time lawyer as it offers long-term continuity in their legal support, and in-house counsel lawyers will develop a strong grasp of the company's legal history over time.
Some scaling companies are also finding value with a hybrid model where they supplement their external law firm or in-house counsel with fractional counsel as projects require additional support or as demand for legal services within the company grows rapidly.
Ultimately, the decision between fractional counsel and in-house counsel depends on the needs and budget of the company, as well as its legal goals and priorities.
International Women's Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It is a day to honour the progress made in advancing gender equality, while also recognizing the work that still needs to be done. One area where women still face significant challenges is entrepreneurship. According to Statistics Canada, women-majority-owned businesses only accounted for 17.5% of all private-sector businesses in Canada in the second quarter of 2022.
Goodlawyer has had the pleasure of supporting many amazing women founders in their journey. Join us in celebrating the achievements of women entrepreneurs and supporting their efforts to build successful businesses so we can create a more equitable and prosperous world for all.
As technology continues to advance and become more integrated into our daily lives, it's important to remember that with the convenience and benefits it brings also comes the need for privacy and compliance.
One of the main reasons why privacy and compliance are important in business is because of the vast amount of personal information that is collected and stored by companies. This includes things like names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and financial information. It's crucial that this information is protected and used in a responsible manner, as a breach of this information could have serious consequences.
Today, we’re going to cover two common questions we get when companies are sorting their privacy policies:
Just like a long-distance relationship, managing a relationship from across the world is no walk in the park, and neither is collecting and using data from the EU or UK.
A company needs to comply with the privacy legislation of the jurisdiction the data comes from. For example, if you have EU users on your application, you must comply with the GDPR, even if your business is located in Canada. Now, this can get confusing because different privacy legislations across the globe have different requirements. Some are more strict than others.
While each case needs to be handled differently, generally, it is easier for companies, to streamline their privacy approach and treat all data the same. If this is the approach your company wants to take, then you should take the strictest legislation (often the GDPR) and implement it across the board.
By taking the most restrictive approach, not only are you developing a gold standard privacy practice, but you will be ready and agile for changes in jurisdictions that will change their privacy laws to be more in line with the stricter regulations, as we are starting to see in Canada.
Congrats! You now know the specifics about collecting information from across the pond, but knowing your privacy compliance will not get too far if you don’t have someone accountable for your privacy function.
According to recent legislation in Quebec and GDPR, if your company doesn’t have a designated privacy officer, the person with the highest authority within your business (likely the CEO) will ultimately be held accountable for your privacy function.
This is a hefty amount of responsibility to put on a CEO (which likely could be you), so it’s always advisable to have someone who understands privacy and can identify privacy risks be designated for that role and leave the CEO to the other 101 things they need to deal with.
Now we know that most small businesses cannot afford to hire someone full-time. Even if you give the job to someone internally, as a part-time position, that person may not know privacy compliance and, therefore not be able to identify privacy risks.
Companies in those situations may consider hiring a privacy advisor or a fractional privacy officer to be their accountability partner in privacy and assist them with privacy compliance. If this is something that you think you’r business could benefit from, or have more questions about privacy in general, book a free meeting with our team to see how we can help your business succeed.
Hiring a part-time executive is nothing new to scaling businesses with ambitious growth goals and constrained resources. Linkedin is saturated with requests and offers for fractional CFO and CMO services because founders know that cost-effective and sophisticated financial and marketing talent is critical to the long-term success of a scaling business. The same is true for sophisticated legal expertise and advice.
However, due to the dominance of the high-cost law firm model, many executive teams are resigned to limiting their reliance on legal experts to major transactions or disputes until they can afford to hire their own in-house legal team.
While some scaling businesses treat their lawyers and external law firms as luxuries for only the most critical matters, many others have discovered the obvious business case for integrating legal counsel and support into their daily operations with a fractional in-house counsel. Fractional legal counsel offers a sophisticated, flexible and cost-effective way to integrate a trusted-legal partner into a business's operations, making it perfect for start-ups, scaleups and established mid-market companies looking for a more efficient way to get the legal support they need.
Valuable business relationships require mutual investment, trust and compromise. Unfortunately, founders’ relationships with external law firms can feel uncompromisingly transactional. You need assistance with a specific legal matter so your external law firm diligently completes the required task and sends you an itemized bill capturing every minute they spent on your matter.
As an embedded team member, a fractional legal counsel is engaged to create and serve a recurring business relationship, not a one-off transactional mandate. Your fractional legal counsel integrates into your organization, gets to know your team and attends key business meetings to become an expert in your business — producing actionable and nuanced legal advice that supports better business decisions.
A fractional legal counsel also helps improve internal operations and strategy by proactively managing tasks and risks before issues arise. In the most successful cases, a fractional legal counsel replaces the senior law firm partner as the CEO’s primary counsellor, becoming a core member of management and participating in decisions about both law and business.
“A Fractional GC is a teammate in your business, they’re there with you.” - Marty Finestone
On the heels of the pandemic and the Great Resignation, senior legal talent is leaving established law firms and migrating to startups for alternative engagements and fractional legal counsel roles. For some lawyers, it is a means to find work-life balance while others are excited to collaborate on hard problems with exciting management teams or see it as an opportunity to work in mission-driven companies.
This is great news for startups and scaleups, especially those in regulated industries, where senior legal expertise and guidance are essential to their long-term success.
Ideal fractional legal counsel candidates have strong technical legal training, experience working with successful organizations and years of practice operating in a practical, business-minded way in your industry. With the right combination of technical legal expertise and industry experience, your fractional legal counsel will help your team solve legal challenges efficiently while contributing to the company’s growth and success.
Meet Good Lawyer and Fractional General Counsel, Angie Redecopp. Angie has over 20 years of experience and specializes in ESG, financing, corporate.
It’s easy for executive teams — busy with a myriad of responsibilities — to lose track of external legal engagements and fees. In fact, under the traditional billable hour model, growing businesses can easily rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in external legal bills.
Due to the high cost of working with external law firms, many scaling businesses limit their legal engagements to major transactions or disputes, missing out on the strategic value of operationalizing their recurring legal needs during a critical phase of growth and development.
With the fractional legal counsel model, startups and scaleups are realizing the benefits of embedding a legal partner to manage their recurring legal operations, while drastically reducing the size of their legal bills. Premised on fixed monthly fee arrangements, the fractional legal counsel model means that all your business’ legal questions and operations get addressed, without worrying about being “on the clock”.
See what Goodlawyer user, Teruel Carrasco, has to say about the benefits of having Jenna Pich as their General Counsel.
A typical fractional legal counsel engagement often begins with a comprehensive legal assessment of your organization to evaluate legal risks, identify your legal priorities and build a roadmap for your legal and business operations. It is also a great solution to support strategic projects like a product launch or compliance review mandate, as well as to supplement an existing in-house legal team on a short-term basis.
Armed with the confidence of organizational clarity, your fractional legal counsel can take ownership of your legal roadmap, so your executive team can concentrate on growing the business.
Meet Good Lawyer and Fractional General Counsel, Mahira Mohtashami. With experience in Bay Street, Mahira's specialties include fintech, banking products and regulations.
CEOs, CFOs and founder teams are spread thin. They manage many responsibilities within their organizations, finding little time to hit everything on their (always-growing) to-do lists.
An effective fractional legal counsel reduces the demand on executives’ time, so they can concentrate on their core management tasks, rather than delegating and managing legal work. Imagine how fast your organization could move with your executive team focused on exactly what they do best.
Check out our Good Hour for a deep dive into the benefits of Fractional Counsel.
Demand for à la carte legal support from external legal teams isn’t going anywhere. But for many companies, predictable and reasonable fees for an experienced lawyer that understands their business and operations from the inside is the best way to go. If you think your business could benefit from the embedded support of a fractional legal counsel, get in touch with the Goodlawyer team today.
Having served as in-house counsel to startups and global companies, Goodlawyer’s roster of Fractional lawyers speak the language of business and understand the critical factors that keep founders and executives up at night. Delivering prompt, practical solutions from within your company, Goodlawyer’s Fractional lawyers are ready to transform your legal function from an overpriced cost centre into a strategic contributor to your executive team.
Book a meeting with our team to start scoping your engagement and getting one step closer to feeling the benefits of hiring a Fractional GC:
Why would you pay for legal services when there’s an official looking document you can download free of charge? You may read over the free template contract and think to yourself, “All of this makes perfect sense and it applies to my situation. Woohoo!” but that’s not always the case. Today, we’re here to answer the question of “Are template legal documents good for my business?”
Template legal documents are EXACTLY what they sound like…a template, a starting point, an adjustable form, a fill-in-the-blank solution. Let’s think about this in the context of a logo or a newsletter.
There are a million and one templates in graphic design programs like Canva, Visme, Adobe Spark, Crello, Snappa and so many more. When you pull up a template in one of these programs, what do you get?
You get a template that shows you specific areas to place images and text, a general outline of things to include, and a specific design aesthetic for fonts, colours, and other things. After you insert images and text that are relevant to your business, you publish it and ✨voila✨ you have a beautiful piece of marketing material!
Template law documents are similar if you remove the fun things like colours, images, fonts and leave the text… 👀 You insert the text and fill in the pre-made blanks with your business’ information…and ✨voila✨ you have a great legal document right? Not quite.
With the legal document, you may have basic details like your business name, your business contact info, and some product or service details. However, savvy founders know there is much more you need to consider with your legal documents.
Think about things like payment, product shipping, service delivery, scoping and pricing, changes to scope and pricing, and claims for defective or undelivered products or services. Does the template you found match how your business actually operates? If the answer is no, then the legal document may actually harm your business more than it helps.
Does what is in the document match what you are actually prepared to offer for a warranty? Or are you prepared to accept the liability in the document if something goes wrong? And if you make changes, do you understand the legal consequences of the changes? If the answer is no, then again, the template may be more harmful than helping.
What laws, regulations, and case law were used to build your template? Do they apply to your business location? Or your customers’ or suppliers’ locations? Does the law automatically place certain implied rights, obligations, or liabilities into the document? Do the laws still apply or have things changed? If your answer is I don’t know, then we’re back to a potentially hurting template instead of a helpful template.
We get the appeal on online legal templates; why would you pay for legal services when there’s an official-looking document you can download free of charge? BUT, when you’re dealing with crucial aspects of your business that can span over multiple years, there will be a lot of terms that you’ll want to include to protect you and your business.
Still not sure what kind of lawyer you need? Our Legal Concierge™ is a friendly and knowledgeable service that can help you navigate the daunting world of Law — for free.
As we head into the new year, Goodlawyer’s Startup Lawyer Marty Finestone has provided a list of 10 tips to steer your startup in the right direction. If you haven’t talked to a lawyer about your business’ specific circumstances and needs in the new year, now is a great time to schedule a call with a lawyer in your industry. Get started with Goodlawyer
It’s important that you don't give anyone shares based on what they're planning to do. Even the best intentions don’t always pan out, and once you've given someone shares without any contract around it (like a shareholders agreement) they can do whatever they want with those shares. The minimum vesting time frame is at least a month, then they've only got a month's worth of shares if they leave after a month. If you give them all the shares upfront and there's no vesting, they can leave after a month and take all that equity with them.
You want to keep at least 10-20% (no more than 20%) of your equity pool to incentivize your employees. When you work with a (good) lawyer, you can make sure you're reserving the right amount of equity and then draft and approve a stock option to grow your team with top talent. Learn more about Optimizing Your Startup’s Equity Compensation & Stock Option Strategy.
Whether you’re working with service providers, contractors, or employees, it’s important to clarify who owns the intellectual property and, more importantly, have a contract to make sure your company owns the IP it paid that person to create.
In Canada, there isn’t a “work for hire” concept. Meaning, if you pay someone who is not an employee to create something for your company, they keep the IP rights unless you have a written contract transferring those rights to you. Not only do you need that contract in Canada, but you also want all creators to waive their moral rights (a form of personality rights) in what they do for you.
So don't even think about using that U.S. template you found online. Learn more about how to determine who owns the IP associated with your business.
We know, it’s tempting. They’re typically less expensive, and easy to run with, but there are nuances they might not cover for your business. We’ve seen founders run into a lot of trouble with templates that come back to haunt them — especially later when they’re having a serious investor come to the table doing thorough due diligence. Put your contracts to the test and have one of our Good Lawyers review your contract.
Having clear business goals from the outset helps keep the law on your side. You want to ensure the right kind of equity for the context and think about things like having restrictions on voting rights. Working with a lawyer can help your company for investment while protecting yourself from personal liability, as well as the core legal documents you’ll need to get there!
Learn more about structuring your business for success.
SAFEs might seem like the simple way to raise money because you can push everything to the future. But too often, founders aren't taking the time to understand the ownership impact when that SAFE will convert to equity. It can be a shock when you realize how much equity you’ve given away once the SAFE converts. Talk to one of our lawyers to see if SAFE financing is right for your business.
Always have a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with your independent contractors and employees. This allows your employees, consultants, and service providers to know what information is confidential and the consequences they can expect if they breach their obligation to keep that information confidential. Simply put, without a legally sound NDA, it’s your word against theirs with a confidentiality breach.
Learn more about Non-Disclosure Agreements.
We know we just said to use Non-Disclosure Agreements but sending an NDA for the sake of NDA becomes a hassle. They’re important when you're sharing or talking about something confidential. Otherwise, it's adding another contract that may be unnessesary. If you’re still unsure whether to divulge information, then we recommend you book a strategy session with a Good Lawyer.
A company needs to comply with the privacy legislation of the jurisdiction the data comes from. For example, if you have European users on your app, you must comply with the GDPR, even if your business is located in Canada. It can start to get more confusing as different privacy legislations across the globe have different requirements. Not only that, but you should also understand whether you need to collect certain personal information. Best practice is to only collect the personal information you need to have.
Learn what you should know if your company is collecting personal information internationally.
Our anti-spam laws are broad, even having a signature with your logo and a link to your website’s address means suddenly, you must fulfil all the legislative requirements. Best to read up on it, or better yet, come talk to a Good Lawyer to make sure that you're on the right side of the law.