F|R Crib Sheet: A Digital Hack to Trim Your Startup Legal Fees

When I began my career in corporate law 10 years ago, I was floored by the amount of time, money and paper consumed during the closing process of a business transaction. Every deal produces multiple sets of original documents and signature pages, so each party (and sometimes their lawyers, too) can end up with a bound volume containing a full record of everything, just for safe-keeping.

I recently worked on a financing for a young tech company that involved parties in Washington, Paris, San Francisco and Santa Clara, Calif. When the terms were finalized, I assembled the relevant documents and signatures, fed them into a scanner and sent the parties a digital PDF of the deal record. But one party decided they wanted a complete set of originals for their records. So after waiting days for more signature pages to arrive from France, we reassembled everything and physically shipped out a much thicker version in hard copy.

A financing like this one typically costs about $15,000 in legal fees. I’d estimate that the extra documentation and billable attorneys’ hours added another $1,000 to my client’s tab, for zero legal benefit.

Startups, especially those that are bootstrapping, are heavily burdened by such legal costs. The good news is that it’s getting easier, and more acceptable, to use scanned signatures for your transaction documentation. Doing this can save your startup a lot of pain – and thousands of dollars. Read More about F|R Crib Sheet: A Digital Hack to Trim Your Startup Legal Fees