Verified Expert Lawyer: James Alonso

While James Alonso has worked at big law firms for much of his career, he’s been working with startups the entire time. He’s also an engineer by training — and by practice. He recently founded a new startup-focused law firm (Magnolia) that incorporates document automation software (Docasaurus) that he built himself and also licenses to other law firms.

On startup law

“It just kind of is who I am. I’ve been a programmer and have worked on my own companies since before I was a lawyer, so I naturally gravitated towards representing this kind of company. Being part of the startup community and helping founders navigate high-stakes issues is just fun and I’m lucky that this is what I get to do.”

On his approach

“It’s all based on understanding the client’s perspective. They want really expert legal advice, but the way most firms provide and package that advice is just not what the clients need. It’s not just the outrageous fees, but even the way they communicate and overcomplicate things.

“James has helped me with several company formations, fundings, employee disputes, and dozens of other issues. He’s awesome.” Derek Andersen, Palo Alto, founder, Startup Grind
I want to be the lawyer who you’re not afraid to call (or text or slack) because you’re worried that every minute is building up to a crazy bill. And on the technology side, I really do believe that if it can be automated, it should be automated and I put that into practice. That means that for typical deals like formations or early stage financings, I spend hardly any time actually drafting the documents. Which is great for everyone because the client gets the high quality advice they want without being forced to pay for a side of unnecessary drafting. ”

On common startup legal problems

“Maybe half of the advice I give early stage companies is about how to avoid mistakes that will slow down or threaten your next round of financing. Most mistakes are fixable, but you are just so much better off if we address them early on rather than waiting for your investor’s counsel to find them in the middle of a round. The really bad ones tend to have to do with stock options or anything with irreversible tax consequences like missing an 83(b) election.”

Below, you’ll find more founder reviews about James, the full interview, and more details about his pricing and fee structures.

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