Lawyers get a bad rap. As a recovering Los Angeles corporate lawyer, I can easily understand why (Trust me, for 17 years of my life I’ve had to meet billing quotas monthly, Ugh! The horror!). However, I am here to tell you that not all lawyers are evil. In fact, at Viewpoint Law Group (VLG) we are pretty damn cool. And why shouldn’t we be? We are doing what we love to do in Bend, Oregon, in our own way, and on our own terms.
Times have changed. Gone are the days when big law firms dominate the market. If an entrepreneur does her research, she can find a seasoned, brilliant lawyer to complete a complex transaction on time and within budget. Technology and telecommuting have enabled independent lawyers to provide an in depth practice offered by the big firms on a more cost effective and personal basis. This is our philosophy at VLG. We have three seasoned corporate lawyers. All of us have graduated law school with honors. We all have over 17 to 27 years of corporate law experience in big cities from New York, Los Angeles to San Francisco, and we don’t charge for every phone call. We actually enjoy what we do, and we are happy to help you. For that reason, we are happy. And because we are happy, we are happy to help you launch your business. So, here are the top 10 reasons you should actually love (yes, love, not hate) us:
1. Because we will make sure your house is in order.
Nothing would be more of a bummer for a start-up than losing an investor because there were fundamental legal mistakes made. Craig Johnson wrote in the book, The Silicon Valley Edge: A Habitat For Innovation and Entrepreneurship, “Starting companies is a lot like launching rockets: if you’re a tenth of a degree off at launch, you may be a thousand miles off downrange.”
2. Because we have good listening skills.
We understand that you want us to actively listen to your concerns and hear what your objectives are. From the Wabet Blog: “While great corporate lawyers have several different attributes, one stands apart from the rest: being an exceptional listener. First of all, it’s essential that the corporate lawyer is always ready and able to listen to the client’s description of [his or her] goals and needs. This sounds trite, but involves a set of skills that is more than simply hearing the words spoken or reading the words on the written page. The exceptional corporate lawyer looks beyond the words to delve into the facts, circumstances and other aspects that define the situation… Some of the skill is derived from training, but to a large extent the exceptional corporate lawyer applies his or her experience and the wisdom derived from that experience.”
3. Because we focus on the issues that matter, and do not waste your time and money on insignificant issues.
As an entrepreneur myself and a recovering corporate lawyer, I get it. I’ve seen way too many lawyers spend way too much of a client’s money on issues that literally have one in a million chance of ever happening. The odds of such an event are so unlikely, but lawyers get caught up on the lawyering and intellectualizing and analyzing (aka caught up their egos), that they fail to see the forest for the trees. A substantial amount of time and money is spent on something that will never happen just because of the possibility that it may in fact one day happen (like the apocalypse). Do you buy canned goods waiting for the end of the world? If so, you may find comfort in a lawyer over-lawyering. We don’t. We focus on the real issues and help protect you from those.
4. Because we get back to you in a timely manner.
I know how important pinging your lawyer can be on the fly. We try to answer the phone when it rings. We give out our cell phone number so that makes us accessible to you almost all the time. We live in a fast-paced world. We know the importance of getting back to you quickly, and we appreciate the same from you.
5. Because we do genuinely care about you and your business.
That’s why we at VLG all went into business for ourselves. We are passionate about what we do, and we want to develop a personal relationship with our clients. “Most of my clients are my friends, and we connect over dinner or lunch or we go fishing,” says Paul Neibergs, attorney at VLG. We take a personal interest in you and your dream and genuinely want to help you get where you want to go in life. We actually like serving our clients.
6. Because we are willing to work out a fee structure that works for your business.
The old boys club of traditional law firm is broken. With legal fees sky-rocketing over the past decade to up to $1,000 an hour in big cities, smart entrepreneurs, especially millennials, have embraced other options without sacrificing the quality of work. Firms, like VLG, do not have the large overhead in high rents, fine artwork, expensive associates, librarians, et al. that comes with the traditional law firm model. Because of that, we have the flexibility to work out creative fee structures. We have even been known to take a flat fee arrangement on some legal work with agreed upon payment terms. This helps the entrepreneur bring in legal early on before mistakes are made. It’s a win/win.
7. Because we help you get your business the value that it is worth.
Valuation of a business is really an art, there is no science to it. Having an experience corporate lawyer who has done lots of deals will be helpful in you getting the valuation you deserve. If nothing else, it helps to have confidence that you are in the ballpark, the rest if up to you.
8. Because we help you understand the important legal issues confronting your business.
We take time to explain to you in plain English what issues actually could end up costing you a lot of money or land you in jail. Securities law exemptions can get confusing to lawyers, let alone lay people. We simplify it for you, and inform you about the issues that you should know. You don’t need to understand and know the ins and outs of complex statutory language, you just need to know enough to stay out of trouble.
9. Because we, the experienced lawyers, do the work ourselves.
Each of us at VLG has between 17 and 27 years of legal experience, and we do all the legal work ourselves. Most law firms have the model where the seasoned attorney brings the work in the door, but the actual work is done by associates in the firm that have anywhere from one to four years of experience.
In Scott Walker’s Blog, Behind the Big Law-Firm Curtain: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly,”The reality is that in the smaller transaction — the further down the ladder the work gets pushed at the big law firms. That’s the way these firms work. The entrepreneur may meet the senior partner at the first meeting for his $15 million acquisition or $3 million financing, but that partner then goes back to his office, calls the assigning partner and gets some young associate to start cranking out the work.”
10. Because we will help you find creative ways to get the deal done.
Good lawyers can spot the issues; great lawyers can provide solutions to resolve them. Enterpreneurs hear roadblocks 24/7. As an entrepreneur myself, there are only so many roadblocks I can take before I just shut down. If you are going to be bringing up problems constantly, you better be bringing some solutions or alternatives to the table. At VLG, we are problem solvers in all areas of your business.
Our firm model at VLG is a win/win for us and our clients. We get to live in Bend, Oregon and do what we love, and our clients get seasoned big city lawyers at an exceptional rate. If we are lucky and it’s a bluebird day, we can spend our time taking care of business on the slopes or on the links.