Raleigh-Durham's Best Lawyers for Startups

August 30, 2017

Getting a good startup lawyer right from the beginning, can often be the difference between "off to the races" and "oops, why didn't we think of that before".  Picking a good lawyer often revolves around their expertise with startups, expertise in your industry, expertise for your specific project, bench strength of their firm, affordability, references and personality fit with your organization.  So, speak with several, to assess who is best for your business and liking, before making your decision.

There are several worthy full-service lawyers in the Raleigh-Durham area, with deep expertise in serving the startup community.  Below is a list of some of my favorites (in alphabetical order of law firm name), having met with most of them.  You will be well-served by any of their counsel.

Neil Bagchi at Bagchi Law
Location:  Chapel Hill

Online Bio:  http://bagchilaw.com/team/
Contact:  (919) 537-8159 or neil@ bagchilaw .com
Firm Size: 5 attorneys ($)
Industries:  technology and life sciences

Involvement:  CED, Idea Fund

James Forrest at Forrest Firm
Location:  Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham
Online Bio:  http://forrestfirm.com/people/james-r-forrest/
Contact:  919.267.1646 or james@ forrestfirm .com
Firm Size: 20 attorneys ($$)
Industries:  technology and life sciences

Jesse Jones at Fourscore Business Law 
Location:  Raleigh
Online Bio:  https://fourscorelaw.com/team/
Contact: 919-307-5356 or jesse@ fourscorelaw .com
Firm Size: 2 attorneys ($)
Industries:  technology and life sciences

Fred Hutchison or Justyn Kasierski at Hutchison PLLC
Location:  Raleigh
Fred's Online Bio: http://www.hutchlaw.com/people/attorneys/fred-d-hutchison
Justyn's Online Bio: http://www.hutchlaw.com/people/attorneys/justyn-j-kasierski 
Fred's Contact:  919.829.4300 or fhutchison@ hutchlaw .com 
Justyn's Contact:  919.829.4337 or jkasierski@ hutchlaw .com
Firm Size: 21 attorneys ($$)
Industries:  technology and life sciences

Involvement:  CED, First Flight, NC IDEA, UNC, NC State, Duke, Launch Chapel Hill, Triangle TechBreakfast, HQ Community, LaunchBio/BioLabs NC

Randy Whitmeyer at Morningstar Law Group
Location:  Raleigh
Online Bio:  http://morningstarlawgroup.com/author/rwhitmeyer/
Contact:  919-590-0369 or rwhitmeyer@ morningstarlawgroup .com
Firm Size: 26 attorneys ($$)
Industries:  technology and life sciences

Involvement:  UNC, Raleigh Chamber, CED, NCTA

Glen Caplan or John Fogg at Robinson Bradshaw
Location:  Chapel Hill and Durham
Glen's Online Bio:  http://www.robinsonbradshaw.com/professionals-Glen-Caplan.html
John's Online Bio:  http://www.robinsonbradshaw.com/professionals-John-Fogg.html
Glen's Contact:  (919) 328-8807 or gcaplan@ robinsonbradshaw .com
John's Contact:  
(919) 328-8806 or jfogg@ robinsonbradshaw .com
Firm Size: 130 attorneys ($$$$)
Industries:  technology and life sciences
Involvement:  CED, Duke, UNC, NC State, Exit Event & Groundwork Labs

Some Clients:  Dude Solutions, Automated Insights, Distil Networks, Validic, WedPics, IDEA Fund, Cofounders Capital, Sony Ericsson, Digitalsmiths, Cloupia, ExtraOrtho, Bull City Ventures, River Cities, RTI, Inlet Technologies, Get Spiffy, Filter Easy and Valencell.
Other:  Glen and John both have past experience working in Silicon Valley for Wilson Sonsini (Glen) and DLA Piper (John).

Merrill Mason and Mikal Shaikh at Smith Anderson
Location:  Raleigh and Durham
Merrill's Online Bio:  http://www.smithlaw.com/professionals-Merrill-Mason
Mikal's Online Bio:  
Merrill's Contact:  (919) 821-6733 or mmason@ smithlaw .com
Mikal's Contact:  
(919) 821-6753 or mshaikh@ smithlaw .com
Firm Size: 130 attorneys ($$$, but willing to consider creative alternatives)
Industries:  technology and life sciences

Involvement:  Launch Chapel Hill, CED, IDEA Fund, HQ Raleigh, Carolina Angel Network, 1789 Venture Lab, Triangle Angel Partners, UNC, Duke, NCSU
Other: We are a team of startup lawyers at a full-service law firm enabling us to leverage in-house tax, employment, IP, licensing, securities and real estate expertise.

Jim Verdonik or Benji Taylor Jones at Ward & Smith
Location:  Raleigh
Jim's Online Bio:  http://www.wardandsmith.com/attorneys/james-verdonik
Benji's Online Bio:  http://www.wardandsmith.com/attorneys/benji-jones
Jim's Contact:  (919) 277-9188 or  jfv@ wardandsmith .com
Benji's Contact:  (919) 277-9142 or btjones@ wardandsmith .com
Firm Size: 95 attorneys ($$$)
Industries:  technology and life sciences

Involvement:  CED, Raleigh Chamber, NCTA, Duke
Other:  Jim wrote the book on crowdfunding.

Rob Tyler at Williams Mullen
Location:  Raleigh
Online Bio:  http://www.williamsmullen.com/people/j-robert-rob-tyler-iii
Contact:  (919) 981-4085 or robtyler@ williamsmullen .com
Firm Size: 230 attorneys ($$$$)

Industries:  technology and life sciences 
Involvement:  CED, NC Idea, NC State

Larry Robbins or Chris Lynch at Wyrick Robbins
Location:  Raleigh and Durham
Larry's Online Bio:  http://www.wyrick.com/our-people/larry-e-robbins
Chris's Online Bio:  http://www.wyrick.com/our-people/j-christopher-lynch
Larry's Contact:  (919) 865-2800 or lrobbins@ wyrick .com
Chris's Contact:  
(919) 865-2807 or clynch@ wyrick .com
Firm Size: 90 attorneys ($$$, but flexible for lower budgets)
Industries:  technology and life sciences

Involvement:  CED, BB&T, NCTA
Other:  Chris is a former Silicon Valley lawyer with Wilson Sonsini and Harvard Law grad.

If you think I am missing anybody, or think you should be included in this discussion, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments field below.

For future posts, please follow me at:  @georgedeeb.

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