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Why would lawyers make great VCs according to Ted Wang?

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JASON LEMKIN

Lawyers generally make terrible VCs.

VCs need to know how to take measured risks. 95% (not 100%) of lawyers simply identify risk. They have no idea how to help you really measure this risk, and advise on which risks to really take. So this is a terrible match for the profession.

However, there’s a subset of this 5% where being a lawyer can help.

Being a corporate lawyer in the right scenarios (with top startups like Ted represented), can help give you an education every bit as good and potential much, much better than being a VC associate/principal. The Top 5% of start-up lawyers both get to see 30–100+ start-up scenarios play out across their careers, observe 30–100+ boards, and get to be the confident to make of their top CEOs.

You’ll never get to see this in almost any other professional.

And a VC associate only gets exposure to a handful of start-ups, and basically never as a CEO’s confidant.

The problem with all this as a great, risk-recommending start-up/corporate lawyer you do learn what makes a great CEO, a good management team, a strong executive, a strong board … but it’s not great training for what makes a good start-up work at a business level.

Some of those Top 5% can figure that part out.

The earlier-stage you go, the more you can hack it in the beginning. Because the more really you are betting on great teams.

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Published on March 20, 2017
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