There’s been a shift in the legal sector in recent years as major law firms look to get better involved in the startup community and build strong relationships with incubators.
But that doesn’t necessarily make it easy to reach female-led startups, given many incubators are still male-dominated, particularly in the tech space.
That’s why law firm Hall & Wilcox is specifically putting the call out for women to apply for its Frank Lab program. While applications are open to both male and female-led startups, the firm wants to ensure that female-led startups see the opportunity on offer and also feel comfortable applying.
The firm will select 12 startups — which can be at varying stages — to offer 12 months of dedicated legal support, including $5000 worth of legal services. Those selected will be allocated an experienced lawyer to be their own trusted advisor, quarterly meetings to help with legal work, access to Hall & Wilcox’s space, technology and Smarter Law solutions, as well as access to the firm’s networks, including accountants and investors.
Partner Jacqui Barrett (pictured above) told Women’s Agenda that the law firm has many reasons for wanting to work with startups.
“On the one hand, we want to support new and innovative startups and help them to succeed, and on the other hand, start ups are also teaching us a lot,” she said.
“We as lawyers can often find it hard to adapt and change, by being involved we can see it’s easier to accept and implement change, and to learn about new technology.
“We are really investing in the relationship, so that in the longer term we will have won the opportunity to benefit from their tech, and also that if they turn into a fully-fledged businesses and we’re able to continue to work with them.”
Barrett said they are looking for startups in the Frank Lab program that are truly innovative, with some great substance around the idea or business. She adds that they don’t have to be in the tech space, nor do they need to be at any particular point in the start up journey.
“What we look for in founders is their commitment, a good founder is often an exhausted founder,” she said. “I know that sounds horrible, but when you meet a startup founder and they are knackered and burning both ends of the candle, often because they are juggling another job or something else, you can see the dedication. What we’re looking for is that dedication and commitment to their idea.”
You can apply for the Frank Lab here.
And check out the finalists named Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year for our upcoming Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards.