Early Stage Startup Formation and Fundraising—The Legal Perspective


Wharton Alumnae Founders and Funders Association

Website: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/wharton-alumnae-founders-and-funders-association-28938401687
Leslee Cohen, lawyer and founder of AllRise Legal Counsel, will present a guide on legal considerations for early-stage startup founders.

As a startup founder who intends to raise rounds of capital, you will be faced with unique considerations; for example, your company must be structured to best attract third party investors and reflect current market terms. Embarking on the path of raising money requires understanding what you need to do to protect your startup, what might result in excessive legal fees, and what could turn away potential investors.

In this talk, Leslee Cohen, a Startup, M&A, and Corporate Lawyer, will present to us a guide on:

  • organizing a startup, including issuing founders’ equity
  • granting vesting shares to those who have been helpful advisors along the way
  • + other required corporate governance steps.

She will also prove a layperson’s explanation of the securities laws that apply when a business is considering a raise, so that founders like you will be educated in deciding the right level of legal protection necessary for their own particular circumstances.

We’re excited for you to join this informative session!


About the speaker:

Leslee Cohen concentrates her transactional practice in securities and startup law, corporate finance, technology law, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law.

After graduating from the University of Michigan and New York University School of Law, Leslee started her practice at a Wall Street firm in 1992. She then spent 12 years at a large firm in Chicago and formed AllRise Legal Counsel in 2010. AllRise counsels startups and growth stage companies in connection with their entity formation, founder and advisor equity grants and early fundraising rounds, whether “friends and family investments,” angel, seed or venture capital rounds.

Leslee has been named as a Super Lawyer every year since 2010, including as Top 100 Lawyers in the State of Illinois and Top 50 Women Lawyers in the State of Illinois. She was named as Advocate of the Year in 2019 by the Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC), granted the Women of Influence Award in 2017 by Best Lawyers and the Outstanding Service to Entrepreneurs Award in 2016 by the Daily Herald Business Ledger.

She is a member of the Board of the SBAC, the co-chair of Advisory Committee of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law and co-founder of that organization, and a frequent speaker and mentor at startup incubator and accelerator programs nationwide.


The Wharton Alumnae Founders & Funders Association (WAFFA) is on a mission to accelerate the success of Wharton and Penn alumnae in the start-up world – founders, investors and supporters. WAFFA is one of the fastest-growing clubs at the University, with over 5,500 members in under four years.

Women-led businesses have been largely overlooked by the investment community. We launched WAFFA when we discovered that only 13% of University of Pennsylvania founders are women and they raise just 6% of venture dollars. WAFFA harnesses the power of our network to educate, support, and foster connections for alumnae in the start-up community. We want to build an eco-system that fosters growth for women and accelerates our access to confidence and capital.