Helping Michigan Entrepreneurs Put Their Bright Ideas to Work
MiSpringboard is Varnum’s statewide initiative designed to remove some of the barriers associated with starting a business by providing free legal services to Michigan startups.
Varnum launched the MiSpringboard program in 2011 as a way of helping Michigan’s then-struggling economy with a commitment of $1 million in free legal services. MiSpringboard was our way of helping the economy by doing what we do best – providing high-quality legal counsel to qualified businesses and individuals.
Due to the overwhelming success of the program, the initial $1 million commitment has been renewed multiple times over the past ten years.
MiSpringboard Candidate Characteristics
Good candidates for participation in the MiSpringboard program:
- Are located in Michigan
- Have a written business plan
- Provide innovative solutions to problems
- Have potential to scale and grow
- Can be from any sector of the economy
- Often use technology to help deliver value to customers
- Have founders willing to devote substantial time and energy to the business
- Have potential to attract investors
- Demonstrate a need for Varnum’s legal support
Personal service businesses, smaller retail shops and part-time lifestyle businesses are not typically strong candidates for the MiSpringboard program.
Steps to Free Legal Services
1. Develop Your Idea
After you have written your business plan, identify the MiSpringboard services you may need.
- Corporation and limited liability entity formations
- Equity investments and securities offerings
- Capital structure planning
- Joint venture agreements
- Nondisclosure agreements
- Employment agreements, compensation planning and non-competes
- Compliance with employment laws
- Employee benefits
- Research collaboration agreements
- Distribution agreements
- State and federal tax planning and compliance
- Privacy and security issues
- Introductions to accountants, lenders and other resources
2. Contact a Referral Organization
Varnum works with many business and economic development organizations, such as business incubators, private investors and angel funds, to recommend businesses for participation in MiSpringboard. We rely on our referral sources to vet and recommend appropriate candidates to the MiSpringboard program.
3. Meet with an Attorney
Qualified participants meet with a Varnum attorney to assess their business needs and are assigned a single point of contact at Varnum, even if their legal needs require attorneys from more than one practice area. Participants will receive approximately $2,500 in free legal services, although it may vary based on the need of the individual business. For more information, please contact Tamara Bergstrom at 616/336-6631 or [email protected].
“We have had nothing but positive experiences with the Varnum law firm. The firm has a broad base of attorneys with experience in all areas, which we periodically require assistance.”
Client, US News – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms