How to find a good SaaS lawyer



A lot of early stage SAAS companies get caught in a strange position for their legal work. They are too early in their growth to hire an in house lawyer to cover what may not be a large volume of contracts in the sales pipeline and they need to find an interim solution from an external SaaS lawyer for a few hours or days a week. This is a difficult stage. It’s difficult because external legal resources come with their down sides. Although it may keep a hire off your balance sheet it also means that you can’t have full control over having just one lawyer work on your contracts. The service you use may swap lawyers in and out depending on their availability or natural attrition in their team. This means that you will have to on and off board lawyers, get new lawyers up to speed with your product and the use cases of your customers and it’s ultimately a drain on your resources. It can also be a drain on your finances. Depending on the contract you negotiate with them the end of quarter rush to close deals may mean doubling or tripling of their billings. Ouch.

So its extremely important to understand what you should be looking for to help you find a good SaaS lawyer. The difference between bad, good and great will have an oversized impact on the speed of closing deals and the quality of your contracts which will have implications for you and your business further down the road. When looking for a good software as a service (SaaS) lawyer, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  1. Experienced SaaS lawyer

    • A lawyer with experience in SaaS contract drafting and negotiation is essential, as well as knowledge of the relevant laws and regulations that govern the industry. SaaS contracts are very specific and lawyers without a history of working in this field will end up costing you time and money that could be saved

  2. Jurisdiction of my SaaS lawyer

    • Check where a lawyer is registered to practice

  3. Industry-specific legal knowledge

    • A good SaaS lawyer should have a deep understanding of the industry and the unique challenges faced by SaaS companies, including intellectual property protection, data privacy, and cybersecurity. This is a non-negotiable.

  4. Legal communication skills

    • A SaaS lawyer is one that will need to work with you, your sales team and your customers. They should be able to clearly communicate complex legal concepts to you and your team in a way that is easy to understand. One of the key things to check here is whether or not they are able to enable your sales team with clear communication for push back against customers legal requests. If they are hesitant to get on a call with the customers legal team this should be a bit of a red flag, it’s often the fastest was to problem solve. They should also be responsive and accessible to answer any questions you may have.

  5. Organized

    • This should go without saying but it’s important to clarify what it means. A lawyer needs to be on top of file naming conventions, organizing and structuring contract data and being able to identify what is important and what is not.

  6. A lawyer with a proactive approach

    • A good SaaS lawyer will be proactive in identifying potential legal issues and providing guidance to mitigate them before they become major problems.

  7. Reputation

  8. Cost of a SaaS lawyer

    • Finally, it’s important to consider the cost of hiring a SaaS lawyer. Look for a lawyer who offers transparent pricing and value for money, and who is willing to work with you to find a fee structure that works for your business. The legal fee structure is an important thing to consider, it will impact your cashflow.

find a good saas lawyerWhen do I in house my legal function?Knowing when to bring your legal function in house can be a little tricky. The advantages of having an external legal function is that if you have a low volume of contracts external may well be cheaper. External may also allow you to draw on other legal minds from your provider when you face issues outside your lawyers expertise.

Making the decision on when to add on an internal legal head count can be done on a purely financial metric, for example, what did I spend on external legal over the last six months and when I extrapolate that to a year is it costing me more than a good internal hire? We use six month average here to get a good spread of the fluctuations that can be caused by end of quarter sales pushes.

You can also weigh up the level of legal talent that you can get to join your team. Good SaaS lawyers are hard to find and the recruitment cycle can prove long and difficult. Sometimes it’s better to continue with a high cost external lawyer than settle for a mediocre internal talent.

Where do I find a good SaaS lawyer?Finding a SaaS lawyer can be done in a lot of ways. Many early stage SaaS companies go for a local law firm or a law firm that has been recommended by their network. Whatever you do you should make sure to get references for their previous work in the industry. If you’re looking for the first place to start we’re building our directory of SaaS lawyers here.