Attorneys for Gutwein Law typically have a little something extra on their resume. In addition to the standard requirements like a law degree and prior legal experience, most of Gutwein’s lawyers have experience in another field: entrepreneurship.
When Gutwein’s attorneys aren’t busy with their day job, the firm encourages them to invest in or own a part of a business in order to better understand many of the business owners and entrepreneurs that they represent. As a result, many have joined or started business like coffeeshops and amateur sports leagues.
Gutwein Law originated in Indiana and established its first out-of-state office in Minneapolis last year. The firm specializes in around a dozen practice areas, including business law, intellectual property and sports law. In Minneapolis, the firm’s clients include local startups like Techstars alum Branch Messenger, and drone startup Hydra FPV.
Across its three offices, Gutwein employs just over a dozen attorneys, and around 10 of them have some type of entrepreneurial side hustle.
Josh Schaub, an attorney practicing corporate and sports law, helped open Gutwein’s Minneapolis office in 2016. Schaub is has been the co-founder or partial owner of several sports teams, including the Joliet Slammers and DuPage Drones in Illinois. He is also a co-founder of the recently-established Da Beauty League, an off-season training group for professional hockey players living in Minnesota during the summer.
Schaub said that these experiences have given him a window into the startup world, and allow him to offer more concrete advice to startup clients.
“Startups should find someone who understands their business,” Schaub said. “It’s powerful for a lawyer to sit across the table from an entrepreneur and say, ‘I’ve been in your shoes and struggled. I know where you’re coming from.'”
Gutwein represents all types and stages of businesses. Around 50 percent of the firm’s Minneapolis client base are startups, Schaub said, and the firm caters to these types of businesses by offering reasonable legal costs or stake in the company in exchange for services.
In Minneapolis, Gutwein’s offices are located in the same co-working spaces as many of the startups they work with. The firm has been in Industrious’ downtown location for more than a year, but plans to move a few blocks into WeWork’s office in the Capella Tower.
“We’re definitely not the kind of firm that has offices filled with mahogany and books,” Schaub said.
Schaub believes that Gutwein’s entrepreneurial edge helps the firm better connect with clients and differentiate from competitors. In many cases, he said, law firms will hand their clients a stack of paperwork that they need to raise capital without giving any advice on how to do so.
“Your legal counsel should counsel,” Schaub said. “There are a lot of pitfalls outside the law, and a lot of law firms don’t do enough to give practical advice. But we’ve been there, and we’re able to do that.”