Akasaka International Law, Patent & Accounting Office.

Second opinion legal support for ventures and start-ups

May 11, 2022


In recent years, legal services for venture businesses have become more extensive than in the past. Ten years have passed since our firm started offering venture legal services in 2012. Somewhere along the way, we have gone from “venture services” to what we call “start-up legal services”. This includes offering a second opinion.

Some of the companies we have dealt with have gone public. Likewise, some companies have dissolved. The projects we have handled were not only in the field of IT, but also in the fields of SaaS, healthcare (including medical devices), nursing care, artificial intelligence, maritime business, space ventures, security, cloud services, energy, fintech, real estate tech, communication software, sales software, public transportation, Esports, and more. We’ve also handled cases in Africa and in emerging countries. 

At AILAW, a focus on startups is one of our pillars because we want to support people who take on the challenge of changing the world. We have also formed a community of such people, which includes startup presidents, and have created a culture of leaning on them in times of trouble and giving advice as needed. In times of crisis, we provide various kinds of support to prevent mental illness in the workplace, or to promptly prepare a soft landing to limit damage. 

Gradually, I have noticed that some professionals who offer start-up legal services may be slow or provide disappointing services. Similarly, we must also look at the oligopoly of startup legal services. A few law firms have a monopoly when it comes to start-up legal services, and the number of cases rejected due to conflicts of interest is increasing. In some cases, startups are left scratching their heads as to what to do if they are rejected due to a conflict of interest. 

The Solution 

Even if you include VCs and other involved parties, the startup village is surprisingly small. Our firm can act as a safe haven for startups in this small village, providing a second opinion, resolving conflicts of interest and “troubleshooting” when one is unsure of a decision. We believe that our firm is less likely to have a conflict of interest compared to law firms that have an oligopoly, so please feel free to contact us. 

Services We Handle 

We provide legal services for: founder-founder agreements, startup financing (investment agreements), intellectual property, labor agreements, partnership agreements, terms of use, privacy policies, and other legal matters related to startups, including the negotiation and closing of such agreements, in a timely manner. 

Matters we do not handle: we generally do not handle divorces, traffic accidents, etc., but we may refer you to a new attorney in such cases. In addition, for patent-related matters, we work with our affiliated patent attorneys. 

About Our Firm 

Akasaka International Law & Accounting Office (Ailaw Tech): Established in 1984. The founder has handled cases for famous artists such as Picasso and Chagall, as well as international cases for large corporations (mainly in OECD countries such as the U.S., France, and the U.K., and India). We will continue to build a new startup community in the Ningyocho area and beyond, based on our three pillars (Venture, DX, Global Hub). 

Recommendation by: Mr. Ryo Nakagawa, Representative Director of Sharex Co.

Mr. Sumida and I have been friends for 5 years and also have a supportive relationship where he has given me advice on my own overseas business challenges and has accompanied me to lunch to encourage and support me when my business is having a tough time. My legal consultation was the beginning (creator?) of the legal second opinion service, which is the main service of this project. In February of this year, I approached my legal advisor’s office for consultation on a matter. However, I was unable to consult with them due to a conflict of interest. Now, I was in a bind. I am also a bit uneasy about resolving the issue on my own. But who should I turn to for a new consultation? So, I decided to consult with Mr. Sumida. I was a little embarrassed to consult him seriously again because we usually have a drink and talk together.

However, Mr. Sumida, as a lawyer, contrary to my expectations, gave me precise advice, and we were able to resolve the issue very efficiently! If I had handled it by myself, I would have spent much more time and nerves, so I was able to handle it accurately and speedily because I followed Mr. Sumida’s advice. Not being able to consult with a legal advisor due to a conflict of interest is quite stressful. I felt that way when I encountered this problem for the first time. After receiving support this time, I felt that legal second opinion services are very necessary as risk management for startups. It is also nice to be able to get an objective opinion from someone other than the main lawyer. Mr. Sumida, please spread the word about the legal second opinion service and support many startups and venture companies!

About Ryo Nakagawa, Representative Director, Share-X Co.

48 years old, born in 1974. Born in Shiga Prefecture and currently resides in Kayakisaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. After working for a trading company and a financial consulting company, became an entrepreneur at the age of 30. Since then, he has started 6 companies and sold 1 company. He has been involved in a number of sharing economy businesses, including “PROsheet,” a service for sharing human resources’ skills and time, “PARAFT,” a media service for matching various work styles, and “LightningSpot Shibuya,” a coworking space, all based on the sharing economy. Currently, he has an office in Shonan, and is promoting a re-skilling (DX human resource development) business with the mission of “CHANCE to CHANGE”.

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