Cofounder Legal Challenges and Solutions at Hacker Dojo Tue-Nov-29

Sean Murphy will moderate a panel of three experienced startup attorneys on November 29 for a Silicon Valley Cofounder Academy event at Hacker Dojo on “Cofounder Legal Challenges and Solutions.”

Silicon Valley Cofounder AcademyCofounder Legal Challenges & Solutions at Hacker Dojo Tue-Nov-29

When you join a startup, especially if it is your first, you are going to be overwhelmed by complicated legal and financial issues that you’ve never had to deal with before. We will have a panel of three experience startup lawyers to talk about legal and financial issues for cofounders and answer your questions.

  • Mark D. Bradford is a partner at VLP Law Group. He specializes in executive compensation, equity compensation, and employee benefits for clients ranging from start-ups to emerging growth public companies. He also represents individual executives in negotiating employment agreements, terminations and severance, and entire management teams in significant M&A transactions.
  • Karl-Heinz Lachnit is an attorney with Ferrari Ottoboni Caputo & Wunderling LLP. He represent clients in mergers and acquisitions, corporate formation, angel and venture financing, securities law compliance, corporate governance and general business counseling.
  • Steven Swernofsky is an intellectual property lawyer who combines his extensive knowledge of law, technology, and business to create extremely valuable IP portfolios, thus providing clients with a positive ROI on their legal dollars. As Managing Partner at Los Altos Law, Mr. Swernofsky has established the firm as a profit center for our clients’ legal portion of their technology development.
  • Sean Murphy, CEO of SKMurphy, Inc. will moderate the panel. Although his father, and grandfather were attorneys Mr. Murphy wandered into engineering and computer science in college and his much encouraged legal career was postponed indefinitely. His perspective will be based on mistakes made or witnessed over the last three decades of starting companies and working in and for startups.

Some Topics We Plan to Address

  • What is a corporation?
  • Who owns and controls it and how does it operate?
  • What are the different forms that startups may use initially and why?
  • What are stock options? What is founder stock? What’s the difference between the two?
  • What is vesting?
  • What is dilution?
  • What kinds of terms and conditions are standard in offers? What would be some red flags?
  • What do founders and cofounders have in common and when do their interest diverge.
  • Are cofounders expected to work without a salary? For how long?
  • What are the legal and financial consequences of this? How does that affect the distribution of equity?
  • What tests can you apply to understand the value of the equity you are being offered?
  • What is intellectual property and how is it created, managed, and protected?
  • How does your participation in a startup affect your rights to your intellectual creations?
  • What happens when ideas are created collaboratively?
  • What kinds of IP agreements will a startup typically ask for.
  • What happens if things don’t go as planned?
  • What happens if you leave the company?
  • Can you be let go and for what reasons?
  • How can you tell if you are a good fit for the startup?
  • What are some of the warning signs of a doomed founder/cofounder relationship?

Unlike many events that focus only “founder’s perspective” this one will focus on answering these and other questions from a cofounder’s perspective. After some brief introductory remarks most of the session will be allocated to questions from the audience.

When, Where, How to Register


Change to Panel to due Illness

Seffi Kaminitz was scheduled to take part in panel but due to a last minute illness could not take part, his bio was included in the original version of blog post, it’s now here:

  • Seffi Kaminitz is the founder of Kaminitz Law, a Silicon Valley firm that exclusively represents technology startups. Seffi has over fifteen years of experience advising technology companies, serial entrepreneurs, and investors in a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, and has supported many founders with their startup ventures from seed to exit.

Audio is Now Available

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