Think Small Business Attorneys Are Only Useful During Troubled Times? Think Again.

Conor Filter Law interview with P2Binvestor's Annie Stookesberry

Conor Filter Law interview with P2BinvestorWhy your small business should have an attorney…starting yesterday.

I recently had the chance to chat with Conor Filter, a small business attorney in Denver, Colorado. He helps startup companies and small businesses with mid-to-long term planning and business development. We discussed why having an attorney from the beginning is important, as well as some of the common legal mistakes many people make when first starting a business. Read on!

(P2Binvestor): Sometimes people don’t realize there are so many ways an attorney can help a business. What kinds of services do you offer your clients?

Conor: My services are applicable to all stages of the business cycle. I help with everything from entity selection, business plan consulting, and creating contracts to mergers and acquisitions during the exit phase.

(P2Binvestor): Why did you choose to work with businesses and startups?

Conor: When I was in law school, I actually started my own business that involved biofuels and recycling. We took the leftover vegetable oil from restaurants and recycled it. Even though I’m not a part of that business anymore (it is still around, though), I can advise my clients not only as a lawyer, but also as a former business owner. I learned a lot and can help guide business owners based on my past experience.

(P2Binvestor): What are some of the most common mistakes you see people make when starting or growing a business?

Conor: One of the biggest issues I see is when people start their business without any type of operating agreement or clear divisions of ownership and duties within the business. Similarly, many people enter into early B2B relationships on a handshake, and the vast majority of litigation I see arises from those informal relationships. Don’t be afraid to ask a client to sign a contract! If they are a legitimate business, they will realize it benefits and protects all parties to the transaction. A good business relationship starts with a good business agreement.

(P2Binvestor): What else?

Conor: Choosing the right entity for your business. People assume that an LLC is always going to be the right choice for tax purposes, but sometimes an S Corp might be better. It depends on a lot of different things, including location.

(P2Binvestor): Why would you recommend that a small business hire an actual attorney as opposed to handling legal work through a web-based platform such as LegalZoom?

Conor: Online platforms like LegalZoom have some useful documents, but that’s about it. They don’t personalize those documents for you or tailor things based on your industry or location. Attorneys are also business consultants in more ways than one. Every business is going to need an attorney at one point or another, and developing a relationship with one early on can be really beneficial.

(P2Binvestor): On the finance side of things, are there certain patterns you see with businesses trying to grow?

Conor: Most of my clients are just starting out, so they don’t have a proven track record or history of business yet. That makes it really hard for them to get a bank loan and I warn them about that. I think private and alternative finance will be the way most companies get capital in the coming years and bank loans will become obsolete. With underwriting obstacles being so hard to overcome, alternative lending options are great solutions for my clients.

Conor Filter of Filter Law, LLC, offices in downtown Denver and offers a free consultation to prospective clients. To contact him, send an email to counselor@filter-law.com or call (720) 287-3538. 


P2Binvestor is a crowdfunding platform for working capital financing and a leader in crowdfunding receivables. P2Binvestor utilizes the power of technology and its crowd of accredited investors to simplify lending and provide working capital to growing businesses faster and at more affordable rates. The company offers three flexible products: A receivables-purchase product, an asset-backed line of credit, and a credit line secured by future revenue (designed for SaaS companies). P2Binvestor lends to companies in all 50 U.S. states in various industries including staffing, natural foods, manufacturing, technology, and more. P2Binvestor has been providing businesses’ receivables financing since December 2012. For more information, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @P2Binvestor.

3 Comments on “Think Small Business Attorneys Are Only Useful During Troubled Times? Think Again.”

  1. Thanks for sharing this interview— very enlightening stuff! I’m not too surprised that a majority of problems that Conor and other attorneys see come from informal business relationships. When it comes to stuff like ownership of a small business, you just can’t afford to not put everything in writing. Plus, I imagine that going over every single detail with a lawyer could really help the owner(s) think about the company in a different way than if they had just made a verbal agreement.

  2. Thanks for sharing this interview about the importance of a business lawyer. I am planning on starting my own business once I get out of graduate school and this is great information to know. It could be tempting to try to create a business on your own so that you can save your precious monetary resources. However, getting a good business lawyer seems like an important investment for a new business. Thanks for the info!

    1. You’re welcome! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You’re right; while small business attorneys seem expensive—especially in those early stages when you don’t have a lot of operating cash, you need to make sure you’ve got a good legal framework set up. Best of luck with your business!

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