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I want to get into the startup industry, where do I start?
30 points by bonesinger on Nov 25, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 30 comments
About me: I'm a 3rd year in law school. I'm majoring in tax and intellectual property and I'm very much interested in Entrepreneurship. I am 2 credits short of the required amount to practice before the US Patent Office.

I am tech-savvy, but to an extent. I've dabbled in C++ and Java (beginner skill) and web design (beginner as well). I subscribed to teamtreehouse and I've been learning quite a bit! I enjoy the videos and have worked my way through all the HTML and CSS videos. I've watched videos on iOS development as well.

What I want to do: I want to build upon some ideas but I'm sick and tired of reading books. I like the field of law but I find myself reading tech news and reading about the newest technologies more than law.

I'm finishing up school but I want to work in the tech field. I want to gain experience in startups both in the legal and technical aspect. There are very few opportunities for entrepreneurship in my school thus I'm reaching here for hands on experience. I cannot offer legal advice until I'm a full-fledged attorney but I do want to volunteer and help out regardless of whether its paid or unpaid.

If I don't take some sort of initiative I won't be able to get into the field.




I'm going to be the asshole that points out that startups aren't an industry. They're businesses that operate in many industries. If you want to work with/for/building a startup, do that—but pick an industry you know something about or want to learn about. If you want to work in IP law with startups as your customers, that's a viable business as well—but your industry is IP law, not startups. Why make a big deal out of the distinction? Because if you're only focused on the startup, you're already going to fail.


A startup is not a industry. It's a way of doing things (mostly business) and looking at things differently and trying to improve/optimize them... a 'Culture' if you will. At a startup you can create a company that will belong in a specific industry. Let's say gaming, security, banking, etc.


Hey...You are absolutely right. I think I'm confusing separate fields when I should just pick one and focus on it.


Take the plunge, how about signing up for a hackathon? TechCrunch Disrupt is a good one.

You can start off on the tech side by doing small projects for people in your neighbourhood. Maybe a new store has opened? One of my early contracts was "a cake a month for a year" in exchange for a site. There's probably also local meetups in your area of tech people. If not, maybe move to a city where there's a more substantial community.

On the tech + law side, there are in-house departments at the big tech companies. That was my 2L summer job.

I'm also a third year law student ("2L" above...) and do substantial amounts of web programming on the side. Send me an email if you want to talk further about how to get started on programming.


I am interested in what you've done so far, I don't see a way to e-mail you though, or I'm just retarded.

If you don't mind me asking where did you intern for you 2L summer? I spent most of my time doing clinical work and finishing up MPRE stuff.


Apparently I'm the retard, email doesn't show up in profile.

addy@summerhilldesign.com.


Since you plan on becoming an attorney, you could work with a law firm that specializes in helping the startup industry. You should reach out to Scott Edward Walker, @ScottEdWalker, at http://walkercorporatelaw.com/ and introduce yourself.

I follow him on twitter and he has a number informative videos on the net regarding startups and more. He also maintains a blog on his website.

If you started your law career helping startups then an opportunity to transition to the startup side might present itself. It is a simple matter of creating opportunities for yourself by positioning yourself strategically.


Hi bonesinger, I am a web developer from Vietnam, and I've always wanted to be part of some startup in the US, seriously. I read lots of news on what's happening in the SV. Yet it's difficult for me to get started since I don't have connections in the US.

What I have to offer is my technical expertise, a very cool social web app framework that I've been building for the last 3 years. How cool is it? OK, let's say, I can build a quora clone within 1 month, fast and scalable. It's using Mongodb, redis, nodejs in case you're curious and has been applied to some websites that I probably shouldn't mention here yet.

You need more technical expertise and are lazy to learn it, and that's definitely what I'm good at. Also, from what you mentioned, my guts is telling me you've got enough passion and business skills to promote/run a product. That's exactly what I need for some of my ideas that I'm about to do.

So, to sum up, here's my take to your question: You can leave the development to me (or you can develop with me) and start thinking about other business-related stuff to make it success. That way it might work out for both of us. I've been thinking about this kind of collaboration a long long time before I read your thread but this is my first time I write about it.

If you're interested in this collaboration, please contact me at : { my HN nick name } @ gmail . Thanks for reading & bye for now


Go work for a startup founded by the absolute best people you can find. Even if it tanks, you will learn a ton.


Aye, that's the plan. I've been reading a few books about startups. I've read Venture Deals and I have worked with multiple agreements like stock purchase, asset purchase, note purchase, term loan credit agreements.

I have worked with fictitious clients in helping them incorporate, plan a business, initiate a stock purchase, asset purchase, and lastly, how to handle taxation.

I'm midway through The Lean Startup and unfortunately, I realize the startup field is dominated by engineers with inventions. I understand the purpose of funds like Ycombinator and techstars is to provide guidance for engineers and to help them understand the non-engineer aspects that go with running a company. I want some of that experience! They just don't offer it in my law school.

I've worked in a clinical program with real inventors, but it was directed towards helping them with trademarks and patents and not so much as helping them plan a business.


If I were you, I would try something like a Startup Weekend. They are a great opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs and potentially see interesting concepts. They are also a great way to experiment some of the ups and downs of entrepreneurship on a very short period of time.


Ahhhh, I just checked, missed one for my location! Thanks for the info, I will be on the lookout!


I second the suggestion for StartupWeekend. You can come and go as you please, so if you're not digging the vibe, you can split. Plus, even if you stay for the entire time, you've only invested one single weekend.

If you don't want to wait for the event to hit your hometown again, attend one in a nearby city.

Also, I'd go become a member of a co-working office space and hang out there and mix and mingle. Startup folks and the nicest and most-helpful I've ever met.



just did a startup weekend in Vancouver.. brilliant experience.. you should definitely do it. Will open up your eyes to a lot of possibilities.. you don't necessarily have to be an engineer/developer/designer.


Where in Vancouver? What's the name of it? I've been wanting to check one out.



Hi bonsinger - I practiced IP law for 18 months before leaving practice to do a startup. If you'd like to chat about my experience, email me, it's in my profile.


i actually have a legal startup idea you might be interested in, but i am not a programmer.. i simply come up with ideas design web and phone mockups and find domain name and create logo right now.. i am looking for a kick ass programmer.. LegalSnap.com is the name of the idea. Another idea is called LegalAsk.com...


In a relatively similar position and would love to hear any thoughts on this as well.


Heh, I'm torn between tech and law! I like both and I've got ideas but not enough skill or time right now to complete them.


Why not apply technology to the legal field?

It's likely a field that could use a good dose of technological innovation. Do your apprenticeship or whatever they call it in the legal field learn what problems the legal profession has and then create some technology to solve it.

As for myself I've built a iOS apps to address certain calculations that are built into the law. I was thinking of building some iPad apps to help manage cases. eDiscovery is a pretty huge field already. Did you know that it's not uncommon for emails to be converted to TIFFs to be submitted to court? What about apps that could help lawyers find better case law (crowd sourced case law?)? Or perhaps apps for boutique firms.


Yea eDiscovery is a big deal and in demand. I've been looking around to get a job as a legal counsel to a tech company, but in-house counsel positions usually require an attorney who is experienced and has worked in the field.


HP has a program where they hire new law school grads. See http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/hp_opts_for_training_... .


Sounds like you may need to find a partner or mentor that's more skilled in whatever skill you're lacking in. Having a partner makes a world of a difference and can help motivate you when things start to get questionable or look bleak.


Yes, I want to pick someones brain end to end about this topic. I feel I should try one of those start up weekends when one occurs, woul dbe the best place to meet a mentor there.


Hey, e-mail me at 610198@gmail.com. Thanks -Zeeshan


"I'm very interested in love, here are my credentials ... "

Are you VIRGIN??



Thanks! That was a pretty good video. Bookmarked.




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