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Startups and Emerging Companies


As an entrepreneur, you’ve found your niche in the marketplace, where a need matches your expertise, and you’re ready to create and market your product or service. But before you can build a profitable business, there are legal hurdles to overcome that can be daunting. Where do you get your financing? How do you form your business? What vendors and partners are needed to achieve your vision? How do your protect your assets?

Spencer Fane attorneys guide entrepreneurs and leaders of emerging companies through these complex legal issues typically faced by new and growing businesses. We guide you through these issues so that you can focus on translating your creativity into marketable products and services.

  • Incorporation – The decision of what type of entity is right for you can be complicated. Should it be an LLC, partnership or single ownership? The decisions can affect taxes, liabilities and several other issues. We guide you through this decision-making process, and have extensive experience in the formation of business entities.
  • Funding/Financing – We provide comprehensive advice and assistance to start-up ventures and established business concerns regarding their financing needs, including private placements, public offerings, and borrowing from traditional and venture capital lenders.
  • Contracts – You’ll want to have agreements in all of your business relationships that are legally binding, cover all the necessary details, and protect your interests. We work with you to develop contracts for customer purchases, vendors, employees, independent contractors, and even a partner.
  • Ownership of intellectual property – You’ve created a product or service, now how do you protect it from “copycats?” Did you hire someone or simply ask a friend to design your logo? Did you have them sign a contract that expressly states that you own the work product? If your product is software related, do you own the code and the copyrights to the code? Spencer Fane intellectual property attorneys work with you to avoid patent, trademark and copyright issues before they happen.
  • Regulatory – Your industry may involve federal permits, bonds, state and local licenses or even environmental permits. We work with you to educate you on regulatory issues and help you stay in compliance with regulations involving your business.
  • Taxes – They’re unavoidable, so you need to plan for them. Spencer Fane attorneys, along with your accountant, can help you navigate legal ramifications regarding sales tax, property tax, income tax and a myriad of other tax issues both local and federal.
  • Employment – As your business grows and you hire employees, you’ll need to be compliant with a myriad of regulations. We help employers avoid, minimize, and resolve issues with employees, and navigate challenging legal compliance issues, so that you can focus on your business goals.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions – For many business owners, there may come a time when you want to buy another business, merge, or sell your business. We regularly advise clients in connection with acquiring, divesting or restructuring businesses, and have the experience to help you achieve your goals in such a transaction.
  • Estate Planning – We help individuals and families plan for the orderly and tax-efficient use and transfer of their business interests and other assets from one generation to the next; and solve problems that may arise between family members regarding the management and disposition of trust and estate assets.

Now taking applications for the Spencer Fane Startup Lab. You can view the program description here, and complete an application for the program here. Please email completed applications to Patrick McAndrews at pmcandrews@spencerfane.com.