Edited by Robert E. Litan
Chapter 12: The Value of Lawyers as Members of Entrepreneurial Teams
Anthony J. Luppino 12.1 INTRODUCTION As reflected in the preceding chapters, laws have pervasive and significant effects on entrepreneurship. Rigorous study and analysis of the extent to which particular laws either inhibit or promote the commercialization of innovations are undeniably worthwhile pursuits. Such examinations have produced a rich body of literature available to help shape reforms to existing laws and the development of new, more efficient laws that are better suited to facilitate entrepreneurship in the context of rapidly evolving technologies and economies. Similarly, there is a wealth of instructive literature on the entrepreneurial mindset and the importance of a well-functioning entrepreneurial team in positioning a venture for success. Given the impact of laws on entrepreneurial endeavors, it is surprising that relatively little attention has been paid to the role of lawyers in those pursuits, and less still to the proposition that lawyers can be valuable members of entrepreneurial teams. Non-lawyer participants in entrepreneurship often perceive that attorneys are little more than necessary evils. Worse, they tend to view lawyers as obstructionists and even deal killers, though at times acknowledged to have some usefulness as a shield (‘legal counsel says I have to do this’). Accordingly, clients may be tempted to avoid engaging an attorney until their presence is deemed absolutely required (Dent 2002, p. 45). Yet, accomplished entrepreneurs will occasionally confess, sometimes grudgingly, but with sincere gratitude and even respect, that their lawyers were key players in their success, in some cases bringing to the table critical counsel, or...
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