US firms sweeten the deal for start-ups

September 9, 2010 Faced with a fiercely competitive market for legal services, a number of large firms dealing with start-up clients are finding ways to make their services more attractive.

Firms such as Cooley Godward Kronish and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in California; DLA Piper in New York; and Venable in Washington are offering alternative payment options, and are working to connect entrepreneurial clients with investors and venture capitalists.

DLA and Cooley offer fixed and deferred payment plans if they believe the company has a good chance of getting funded. Venable offers some clients the option of deferring half of their legal fees for a 12-month period, subject to a negotiated cap, paying the balance only if they win funding.

DLA runs a program called Venture Pipeline, which is dedicated to helping start-up clients to raise capital. The firm handpicks the most promising candidates for investor introductions to its network of 450 angels and venture capitalists.

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