In “Enlightenment Now,” a presentation packed with graphs showing data from the Middle Ages to the present day, Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker persuasively argued that the world is doing better than ever before by every important measure: decreases in disease, poverty, pollution, inequality, infant mortality, war and wartime fatalities, authoritarianism; and increases in health, happiness, life expectancy, and democracy.
In a session entitled “Hacking our Democracy,” Mark Warner, the Senior U.S. Senator from Virginia and Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, summarized what is currently known about the extent of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.
goodcounsel, in its typical role of general counsel to our early-stage clients, is heavily involved in contract drafting and negotiation. In this post we’d like to address the sometimes neglected “dispute resolution” provision that is often in the boilerplate at the end of contracts. (You know, that legal mumbo-jumbo you have always ignored.) No one wants to think too much about dispute resolution, because no one wants to think there will be disputes. And, anyway, who even knows what a dispute will be about? All true, but there are important choices to be made about how disputes are handled, and they can make a big difference when parties cannot resolve their issues on their own.
The major decision is this: litigation or arbitration.
Just about everyone can relate to the challenge of trying to get work done in the face of an endless torrent of emails and the expectations of constant availability and immediate response. Yet the reality is that this situation is incompatible with completing work that requires extended focus (which is to say, most work).
We realized that we had to try something. Thus, from time to time, you might email someone at goodcounsel and receive an automatic response like this:
It’s a question I sincerely wonder about. (If any big-company GCs are reading this — call me!)
I often represent startup clients in negotiations with counsel for large companies, and strangely, while the caliber of their attorneys is generally high, the quality of their contract forms is, on average, awful.
It’s crucially important for a boutique corporate and startup law firm like ours to have access to a network of high-caliber practitioners in different geographies or with specialized knowledge our clients need. Consequently, I am pleased to be a member of Select Counsel, a nationwide network of solo and small-firm attorneys with top-notch credentials and capabilities, which formally launched this week.
You can read more here on the website, or download the launch announcement.
We awoke recently to congratulatory email messages from colleagues and friends. “Above the Law,” a notable online publication that covers the legal scene, published an article entitled “The Loop Elite: The Go-To Law Firms of Chicago,” identifying the top law firms in Chicago across 21 different categories, and there we were – named the “Best Firm For Startups.” Read the rest of this entry »
For those who have not yet encountered this particular creature: blockchain is a distributed online ledger of transactions made possible by internet protocols and strong cryptography. It is best known for being the ledger system for transactions in Bitcoin, the most widely used cryptocurrency, but blockchain is beginning to enjoy wider visibility as the number of applications that incorporate it – from payment systems to online storage and beyond – explodes.
goodcounsel represents a wide range of startups, many of which have raised capital from angel investors. How do these investments perform? It is difficult for us to generalize from our limited view of the landscape. We don’t have a large enough sample size (or the expertise, to be frank) to make broad judgments.
Fortunately, there are organizations who compile data and study issues like this. One of them, an organization called the Angel Resource Institute, recently issued a report called “Tracking Angel Returns.” You can read it yourself, here, but the upshot, based on a combined data set of 245 completed investments:
The overall cash on cash multiple is 2.5X, with an average holding period of 4.5 years. This equates to an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 22%, which is obviously very good.
Failure rates, not surprisingly, are high: 70%.
Of the non-failures, a mere 10% generated 85% of all cash, which again, is not completely surprising. This explains why smart early-stage investors typically pursue a portfolio strategy.
This suggests that a broad portfolio of angel investments offers attractive performance; by the same token, making a single, undiversified investment could be risky risky (true of a single investment in any asset class).
What factors go into making the successful startup? We’ll explore that in a separate post.