Local attorney Scott Maucere has developed a product aimed at disrupting the way leaders of startup companies hire, pay and interact with lawyers.
“They wouldn’t be starting up if they weren’t innovating and sometimes they need somebody on call more than a traditional law firm structure can provide," he said. “They need something as innovative as they are.”
Entrepreneurs don’t usually have enormous legal budgets, and traditional billing methods aren’t ideal for small business owners, Maucere said.
Accountants and attorneys developed the traditional payment system in the 1900s. And customers usually hire an attorney by paying a retainer fee. Then that is put into an escrow account and after the services are provided, the client is billed an hourly rate for what they think is feasible. And that’s often unpredictable, he said.
With PUSHTOSTART, each client gets a customized quote and entrepreneurs pay upfront for a year of unlimited services.
“It’s like having a general counsel down the hall. We're only a cell phone call away. You can call one month with a dozen problems and we will address them all,” he said.
According to The Muse, which is an online career resource website, traditional law services can vary in cost.
A junior lawyer in a small city could charge $150 an hour, or a senior partner in a big firm in major cities could charge $1,000 an hour, according to the site.
There are some things that aren’t covered under PUSHTOSTART’s up-front, one-time fee.
It doesn’t cover litigation, regulatory work or securities offerings, which are rounds of investment.
Maucere does offer those services, but they cost extra.
Maucere said that PUSHTOSTART offers predictability, peace of mind and helps entrepreneurs position themselves to get venture capital.
“[Entrepreneurs] need to make sure they are putting their best foot forward,” he said. “A lot of times, venture capitalists and angel investors won’t look at a company if their legal structure isn’t sound.”
Maucere said he and his team also connect with leaders of startups, who typically have different work cultures.
They dress casually when possible and they work flexible, long hours—just like founders of many startups.
Maucere said his goal is to become the first place founders of startups around the country look to for legal advice.
And, soon, PUSHTOSTART aims to have team members across the United States, especially in cities that are attracting a large number of entrepreneurs.
But Chattanooga is the perfect place to start, he said.
“It has a certain feel and appeal—it’s very startup friendly,” he said.
Updated @ 10:28 a.m. to correct a typo.
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