Melbourne Accelerator Program secures six-figure investment from major Australia law firm to offer free legal advice to startups

The University of Melbourne-backed Melbourne Accelerator Program has secured a six-figure investment from a major Australian law firm that will give its entire network of startups free legal advice, support and training.

While the details of the deal with Corrs Chambers Westgarth haven’t been disclosed, it’s believed to involve a six-figure investment and a contribution of time over a three-year period.

The national law firm is working to cement its positioning in the startup sector, and is currently developing proprietary software to help startups streamline the process of producing legal documents, MAP deputy director Clare Harding says.

“It’s going to help the startups themselves produce legal documents for things that go right from incorporation and hiring all the way through to fundraising,” Harding tells StartupSmart.

In addition to simplifying the process of creating legal documents, Clare says the partnership will see MAP’s network of startups gain access to critical legal information and advice tailored to each venture’s unique needs.

Harding says the partnership will serve its startups in broad ways, from finding the right legal structure as a startup wanting to make social impact through to developing investor relationships for capital raising, producing term sheets, bringing in new co-founders and setting up equity share.

MAP has built a network of 24 startups and 56 alumni founders that have generated over $10 million in revenue combined to date.

The legal support required by every startup will be different and will depend on what stage they’re at, Harding says.

“[Corrs Chambers Westgarth] have agreed to run half day legal clinics for our founders and alumni companies,” she says.

“We’ll run the clinics and master classes periodically over the three years.”

Harding says this level of access to legal knowledge and advice will provide a huge benefit for MAP’s community.

“Startups can spend a lot of time, money and mental energy on trying to figure out what foundational support they need in all sorts of areas for their business,” she says.

“Having access to something that’s tailor-made for them is a huge time saver and resource saver, and it also increases their chances of success overall.”

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