Interview with David Helbraun
Originally Published : April 27, 2011
Q: What is the firm focus and history?
A: David Helbraun is the founder of the firm, which was established in 2005. Joseph Levey became a partner in 2010. The firm is dedicated to assisting entrepreneurs fulfill their goal of starting and running their own business. We deal exclusively with small business owners who are both starting out with a new venture or are currently running their own small business. Our clients include restaurateurs, bar owners, hair salons, designers, tech companies, chefs, retail food shop owners, design firms, general contractors and many other types of businesses.
Q: Why did you decide to start your firm?
A: Practicing small business law allows us to use our entrepreneurial experience and legal training to make a living by sharing our knowledge with vibrant, interesting people. We noticed that there were few firms that provided the breadth of services that we believe are needed by small businesses.
Q: What work experience and education helps you be better lawyers?
A: A lifetime of entrepreneurial activities has taught us the ins and out of starting and running a business. We share our client’s perspective and relate to them not merely as attorneys, but rather as business people who have experienced similar struggles and challenges. When we consult with a client, we talk business as well as law.
Q: Why did you decide on your primary area of practice?
A: Because small business owners are our kind of people and we look at the world through entrepreneur eyes which is to say, we are eternally optimistic while being utterly realistic. When the firm was started, many of my friends were business owners. It was a natural route to go.
Q: What do you like best about your career?
A: We earn a decent living by doing something that we are passionate about. We believe that work and life are intertwined and we love coming to work every day. We get to be counselors, business people and teachers. What more could you ask for?
Q: What are your strengths and style?
A: We are empathic listeners and always try to get at the heart of the matter with our clients. We work tirelessly to help our client’s succeed. We are always accessible and believe strongly in communicating frequently with our clients. We grew up in the hospitality industry and endeavor to provide unparalleled service to our clients.
Q: What is your opinion regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?
A: An entrepreneur needs to know as much as possible about all aspects of his or her business. Understanding the legal issues that affect your business is essential to success.
Q: Do you provide Pro-Bono services?
A: We work pro-bono for Drive Change, a non-profit organization that teaches formerly incarcerated youths how to cook and deal with public and they do all of this by running a food truck called Snow Day. We also often take pro-bono cases for persons of limited means.
Q: Can you give us an example case?
A: A client with no prior business experience approached us with 3 interesting spaces in Brooklyn and a concept of developing a coffee bar, restaurant and lounge. We negotiated the leases, assisted with raising the start-up capital, and consulted on all aspects of the coffee bar. We used our vendor connections to help procure the equipment and David used his 10 years of coffee experience to help design the café and hire and train the staff. The venture is a huge success and won the award for best new bar in New York City.