When you retain a lawyer to set up your company, that person could become the first investor in your business, says Jonathan Boutelle, co-founder of SlideShare. In Silicon Valley, he notes, it's not uncommon for law firms to defer payment on legal services until a business makes its first round of fundraising, making the lawyer handling the paperwork effectively an early investor who must be won over with a solid pitch. "Convincing the lawyer is the first step towards having social proof," he says.

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