Zoë Scharf didn’t have exposure to much legal education before co-founding her St. Louis startup greetabl.
Thanks to SLU LAW’s collaboration with Arch Grants to form a Legal Strategies for Startups class, Sharf and other Arch Grantees received some valuable advice on the legal intricacies of running a business.
“My background is in graphic design and visual strategies. I've never had a good opportunity to expose myself to any sort of a legal knowledge until now,” Sharf said. “The class has helped me gain a larger perspective. I feel better equipped to tackle any new challenges to come.”
Managed by SLU LAW Professor Michael Korybut and taught in Scott Hall by attorney and entrepreneur Sanjay Jain, the Legal Strategies for Startups consisted of six weekly two-hour classes starting on Sept. 17.
Quentin Ortega, vice president of Arch Grantee Lumate, said he had some experience with legal issues related to running a business, but wanted to take advantage of the course nonetheless.
“While some of the sessions were refreshers and others where about topics I have yet to encounter, there was no session where I didn't leave with new knowledge,” Ortega said.
Like Scharf, Alex Mueller said his team at Arch Grantee Less Annoying CRM also had relatively little legal background when starting their business. Mueller said he saw the course as a great way to learn the most important legal aspects of running a business.
“Our biggest takeaway from the course was that we should be proactive about legal issues and start doing so as soon as possible,” he said. “As a startup, it's easy to convince yourself that many legal issues are too esoteric for today and that you can worry about them later when you're bigger. This really isn't the case, and the course convinced us that the prudent thing is to stay out in front of the legal issues you might encounter down the road.”
In particular, Mueller said he found the human resources module that was presented in the class to be applicable to Less Annoying CRM.
“We were already in the process of writing an employee handbook, but the human resources module convinced us that it was worthwhile to get it done in a hurry,” said Mueller. “It gave us several good ideas about what we should include in it and got us thinking about how we might clarify some of our existing policies.”
Ortega said one of his big takeaways from the class was the importance of keeping good, thorough records.
“Having good records and making sure you follow the correct legal processes will make your life much easier as your company grows and hits new milestones,” Ortega said. “I think the information discussed during the classes applies to every aspect of business. Making sure that you are properly structuring your company and its processes has a big impact on all future business operations.”
Overall, Ortega said the class was just another example of the great resources Arch Grants makes available to budding entrepreneurs.
“I'm very happy that Arch Grants and SLU LAW worked together to host this program for St. Louis entrepreneurs,” Ortega said. “When knowledge is shared and entrepreneurs have the ability to have informal conversation with each other, previously successful entrepreneurs, and other professionals, we are creating the support network necessary for St. Louis to continue to grow as a startup mecca.”