Melbourne-based startup lawyers General Standards is opening New York and London offices to support its Australian startup clients’ international expansions.
Since launching in 2013, the company has advised over 200 startups and is helping launch more than 30 new companies every month in Australia.
Founded by Australian startup lawyer Kurt Falkenstein, General Standards has built its Australian practice focused exclusively on advising startups, entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capital funds.
In anticipation of the firm’s growth, James McQueen, a former senior associate with Corrs Chambers Westgarth, has joined the company as global CEO.
Former Minter Ellison London senior associate Campbell Unsworth has been appointed as global director and UK partner and will launch the UK office later this month. Spencer Wolf, a graduate of Harvard, Columbia and Yale universities commenced as the New York partner in July.
“As a startup with a healthy mix of global ambitions and local talents, we recognise that some of the most innovative ideas for our business and clients will come from a more global perspective,” McQueen says.
“Leveraging expertise and market experience across Melbourne, New York and London for the benefit of our Australian clients, and vice-versa, is a great way for us to deliver on this.
“What we’re doing is certainly disruptive in terms of the legal industry, and at its heart is supporting the growth of startups in Australia.”
Falkenstein says in the past it’s been difficult for startups to access legal advice simply because it’s too expensive and law firms find it difficult to justify offering startups discounted advice without doing the same for larger, established companies, loyal to their firms.
Because General Standards focuses exclusively on startups and doesn’t have those “legacy clients”, it says it’s able to offer a more transparent service.
It uses a technology-driven model which enables it to provide low cost, fixed-fees and allows its lawyers to spend more time helping entrepreneurs.
“We want all entrepreneurs to be able to afford top quality advice when it comes to starting a new business,” Falkenstein says.
“We wanted to give startups the legal support and structuring advice they needed, at a fixed-price and in a transparent way that makes sense for them.”