Know your exit strategy before you even start

We recently sat down with Joel G. Kinney, founder of Fort Point Legal and counsel to the entrepreneur community in Boston, for our Member Spotlight series. His clients include startups and small businesses in many industries from low-tech greenhouses to cutting-edge HTML 5 gaming programs.

Here’s what he shared:

I didn’t have any intention of founding a law firm. But when I moved to the Fort Point neighborhood four years ago, I suddenly realized that there was such a great energy coming from entrepreneurs and startups in the area. It became apparent to me that it would be more fulfilling as a lawyer to help entrepreneurs achieve their visions than to build a business model that is solely based on the bottom line. I’m more excited to see my clients become successful. Whenever they need advice, I’m here for them.

The idea for Fort Point Legal started to develop when I was working with one of my clients at Bocoup, an open source tech-development firm. The owner also had a small coworking space and rented desks to other hackers. They told me to check it out because lawyers also need conference rooms and amenities. It was a great fit for me, and I was able to cowork next to the type of clients I wanted to work with. Now I get to do it everyday at WeWork Fort Point.

My first conversation with clients usually starts with this question: What is your exit strategy? If you don’t know the answer to this, then you’re not going to know how to start things in the beginning. I’ve heard everything from “We’re gong to sell in six months” to “We’ll be doing this forever”. With founders, it’s good to discuss situations that might arise in a startup. Some work with best friends, so they don’t think things can possibly go wrong. We’ve had hard conversations with founders, and we help them find resolutions to these kinds of disputes.


The way we differentiate ourselves from others is that we want to see our clients grow. And I’m good at helping them grow their businesses by using our connections, experience, and of course, our legal skills. It’s always bittersweet when I have to tell my clients that they need a bigger law firm to represent them. We’ll help them get to that level.

The tech community in Boston is special because we’re in a very accessible large city. Boston is the only place I know where I can get on my bicycle and ride from my front door to Fenway Park in 10 minutes. You have no lack of talent or vision from people on both sides of the river. Boston is continually evolving and making itself better. It’s a particularly exciting time here – not in the way that we’re revamping our infrastructure, but people want to stay here and work on amazing things. We hold our own next to San Francisco and New York City.


Interested in workspace? Get in touch.