A Guide to Strategically Using Law Firms and Deploying Lawyers

Here’s the premise behind this thread:

  1. Most founders think of lawyers in a defensive manner (reduce liability) or in a rote operational manner (corporate formation).

  2. This is not the best way to think about legal partners.

  3. There is an art and craft to developing relationships, learning from, and aligning incentives with laywers, to enable pro-active value creation and navigation of terrain that is otherwise opaque and complex (but typically less competitive and more impactful in its nature).

My friend whose father is a partner @Clifford Chance says that lawyers hold the keys to global, at-scale capitalism. Having been intellectually raised by the ethos of permissionless SV entrepreneurship (deploy code and make something users love), I was tempted to dismiss this.

But it is clear to me now that lawyers can be used offensively to great benefit in order to unlock regulated industries in particular (ie infrastructure, private equity, industrials, natural resources, etc). This is very obvious when one realises that lawyers basically spend all their time intermediating these transactions and will have built up a lot of information and pattern recognition that is not found elsewhere.

Two links of note:

→ Immad of Mercury talking about speaking to 30+ lawyers to understand banking back before neo-banks became a very trendy and relatively simple genre of company to start.

Case study of EP Holding, an energy holding company that was founded by a lawyer who’d obviously built up the reps and deal-flow and, more crucially, capitalised on this.

I plan on building relationships, trading ideas, and partnering up with great lawyers as I explore more frontier markets.

I’ll use this thread a place to ambiently track some of those efforts.