This Research Guide will help you find legal and practical resources related to your work at one of the Transactional Law Clinics. This Guide is designed to get you started by introducing you to resources -- it cannot cover all possible research topics.
You may also want to check out:
Lexis's Practice Advisor, Westlaw's Practical Law, and Bloomberg Law's Transactional Intelligence Center are good places to start researching transactional law areas. These resources are designed for practitioners — both new attorneys and attorneys new to these areas of law. They offer relevant laws & regulations, secondary sources, practice guides, outlines & checklists, model agreements & forms, and drafting tools.
Starting in Lexis Advance, click on the tiles in the upper left corner to find the tile for Lexis Practice Advisor. You can browse the various "Practice Areas" to focus on a particular type of transaction or area of law (e.g., Corporate and M&A, Labor & Employment, Real Estate, Tax, etc.).
Starting in Westlaw, click on the small menu icon in the upper left corner to toggle between the (standard) Westlaw and Practical Law platforms. You can browse the various "Practice Areas" to focus on a particular type of transaction or area of law (e.g., Bankruptcy & Restructuring, Corporate and M&A, Labor & Employment, Real Estate, etc.).
Starting in Bloomberg Law, click on the "Browse" link in the upper left, then click on "Transactional Intelligence Center" in the menu that pops out from the left side.
Here's a partial view of the Transactional Intelligence Center (scroll for more). You can find resources designed for practitioners, explaining how to structure different types of transactions, draft various types of documents, etc.
Just Google "free legal documents for startups" and you will find many online documents you can use to start a business.
Are they any good? I don't know.
The quality of documents you may find online varies and the Library in no way endorses any provider of free/low-cost legal documents as being "the best," or "quality" or even "somewhat OK."
We do, however, suggest you consider some questions:
Think critically. A quality law firm may offer basic documents with the hope a startup will become successful and use that firm as their legal adviser in the future (e.g., going public, an acquisition, etc.). Even so, the firm will usually advise the startup to have a legal professional review the final documents to make sure they are consistent with the needs of the specific startup. If you examine the website carefully you will usually find this cautionary language if you follow a link marked "Disclaimer," or "Terms of Service," or any other place where legal details can be tucked away.
Recommended reading: What it Means When Law Firms and Startups Give Away Legal Documents (written by Daniel Doktori, a Harvard Law graduate and co-founder of the Harvard Law Entrepreneur Project). The article was written in 2015 but contains relevant advice and the majority of links it provides will connect you to sites that continue to be operational.
Examples of sites providing documents and information for startups include:
Businesses can be established in a variety of ways. These resources can help you choose an appropriate form of legal entity.
Below are some publicly available resources (i.e., free):
Below are some additional resources available through the HLS Library:
Commercial legal research platforms offer sample forms, agreements, and other documents.
In addition, consider these resources:
Practical guidance available through Westlaw's Practical Law and Lexis's Practice Advisor platforms can be very helpful for finding sample forms and other documents. See the Practical Guidance section of this Guide, above.
Transactional work will involve many other areas of law, as well researching public records to learn the facts to which the law will apply. For additional resources check out these Research Guides:
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