10 lessons from my 10-year eLawyer entrepreneurship journey

Eddie Law entrepreneurship

Valuable insights from guest writer Eddie Law, as he reflects on his 10-year entrepreneurship journey with eLawyer.

10 years ago, I was going through a challenging period in my legal career. One interviewer even bluntly said to me: “You change jobs like people change clothes”. Although I was very committed and worked hard, my career somehow was not going the way I wanted. I was in a state of despair, and kept asking God where I should go, and what I should do. I was upset, and felt lost.

I experienced a period of not having a stable full-time job. In the “extra free time” that I had, I started reading about e-commerce, blogging, and online businesses. I was fascinated with the power of the internet and the endless possibilities it offered. I started my own blog and exploring what opportunties there were online.

One day, the idea came to me to build a website as an online resource for Malaysian lawyers — this was how eLawyer.com.my was born, in November 2007!

To mark the 10-year anniversary of the launch of eLawyer (my co-founder was another tech entrepreneur, Larry Lam), I would like to share 10 things I have learned over this decade-long entrepreneurship journey:

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How startups can strive for clarity in contracts

This post is a part of a series based on my Law for Startups workshop at MaGIC in September 2015. It’s a basic introduction to legalities for startup founders. You can access the slides here.

Read the earlier posts for context:

  1. Law for startups in Malaysia — building on the best foundations.
  2. The legal landscape in Malaysia for startups — a hybrid of traditional corporate practices and Silicon Valley models.
  3. Choosing the right business vehicle for your startup or small business in Malaysia.
  4. When should a startup hire a lawyer?
  5. Oversights which could destroy your startup or small business.
  6. The dangers of using “standard” or template legal documents.

A couple of posts ago, I explained the importance of bringing all the issues to the surface when reviewing contracts. This post will explain how to strive for clarity in contracts.

Turn to clear image.
Turn to clear vision.

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The dangers of using “standard” or template legal documents

This post is a part of a series based on my Law for Startups workshop at MaGIC in September 2015. It’s a basic introduction to legalities for startup founders. You can access the slides here.

Read the earlier posts for context:

  1. Law for startups in Malaysia — building on the best foundations.
  2. The legal landscape in Malaysia for startups — a hybrid of traditional corporate practices and Silicon Valley models.
  3. Choosing the right business vehicle for your startup or small business in Malaysia.
  4. When should a startup hire a lawyer?
  5. Oversights which could destroy your startup or small business.

Template and automated legal documents are increasing in popularity.

For years there have been many websites offering standard contracts for download. Most of these have a US/European law focus, but the past couple of years have seen some similar services launched in Asia.

Some of these websites offer a very comprehensive collection of legal documents which address the needs of startups and small businesses in particular — everything from NDAs to equity investment agreements are available for download, usually with a fee.

Say no to cookie-cutter contracts.
Say no to cookie-cutter contracts.

My cover slide for this part of the workshop reads: “Be very very very very careful when using standard contracts” — I’m not sure whether I should have added a few more ‘very’s to statement.

Business owners should be extremely cautious when using these legal documents.

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Oversights which could destroy your startup or small business

This post is a part of a series based on my Law for Startups workshop at MaGIC in September 2015. It’s a basic introduction to legalities for startup founders. You can access the slides here.

Read the earlier posts for context:

  1. Law for startups in Malaysia — building on the best foundations.
  2. The legal landscape in Malaysia for startups — a hybrid of traditional corporate practices and Silicon Valley models.
  3. Choosing the right business vehicle for your startup or small business in Malaysia.
  4. When should a startup hire a lawyer?

The opening slide for this part of the workshop reads — “Don’t let your business end up like the Titanic”.

Not something your startup wants to see in its journey.
Not something your startup wants to see in its journey.

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