No Lawyer Jokes Here

We’ve all heard the dumb jokes surrounding lawyers. We may have even told one or two ourselves. Most of the jokes are not even that funny.

Maybe they sound funnier when they deal with personal injury lawyers, you know the ones. They’re the snake oil salesman, ahem, I mean lawyers, the ones with the questionable ethics, who like to advertise themselves on bus stop benches and late night commercials, promising high-dollar settlements for your case if you call today.

But the punch lines are tired.

Lately, however, I’ve heard nothing but good things about attorneys. It seems to be an epidemic. I don’t know what it is with the profession, but entrepreneurs and VCs and others seem to like singing the praises of attorneys.

I saw this happen in late April when I attended a seminar called “Startup Exits: Early Stage M&A” that was put on by the consulting firm VentureArchetypes in San Francisco, at the offices of Greenberg Traurig.

In the session’s keynote address, Rick Marini, founder of BranchOut, talked about how he previously sold Tickle to Monster for $100 million.

It seemed that a lot of luck went into the deal. But Marini also made a point to say that one of the lessons he learned from his days at Tickle was that entrepreneurs need good attorneys.

“They’re important in the negotiation process. I relied on them for the deal,” Marini told the audience of some 50 entrepreneurs.

His pro-lawyer sentiments were repeated later that evening when a panel of corporate development officers discussed M&A principals. The biz dev guys from Salesforce, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Intuit, all in agreement, said lawyers were key to any transaction.

They even chuckled that lawyers were more important to deals than investment bankers. Ouch!

I don’t expect investment banker jokes to start outweighing lawyer humor. But I mention all this lawyerly love because this issue marks the third in a row in which we’ve focused on the perspective of a VC attorney.

This month, my friend and longtime legal contributor June D. Bell, who has specialized in legal coverage over the years, chats with Daniel DeWolf of Mintz Levin. Previously, we’ve talked with Mark Tanoury of Cooley and Michael Patrick of Fenwick & West.

The coverage of attorneys was launched following a recent reader survey when you, dear reader, said you wanted to see more coverage in regards to LPs; terms and conditions; and regulatory and legal developments. There are significant legal and regulatory changes taking place and VCJ aims to provide the best detailed information and analysis to help you do your job.

Let me know what you think.

And if you have any good lawyer jokes, keep ‘em to yourself.