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There might be fewer cooks in the kitchen at a startup, but that doesn't mean divvying up the equity pie is any easier. Sure, you could say everyone in the room gets an equal share, but did everyone really contribute equally up to now? And will they in the future?

So how do you allocate equity based on a team member's actual contributions, rather than their anticipated ones? Luckily, some smart folks have been after this question for a while, and come up with a dynamic equity split system. So how does it work?

Risky Business: Evolution of Marijuana Laws Still Uncertain

The cannabiz is set to boom ... although it is difficult to say when that will happen with states taking very different approaches to marijuana cultivation and consumption. This week, California's San Francisco Bay Area residents will encounter "the nation's first multichannel marketing campaign for [artisanal] pot," reports Mother Jones. Meanwhile medical marijuana was just approved for very limited use in Philadelphia.

All businesses involve risk, and often the greater the risk, the greater the potential reward. The marijuana business is no different -- entering the thicket now means more confusion and possible losses but also likely more eventual opportunity for reward. Whether it's worth doing depends on you, your state, and the landscape of its marijuana regulation.

5 Legal Tips for Starting a Third Wave Coffee Shop

Are you watching the third wave of coffee and thinking you need to get in on this business? Third wave coffee simply indicates high quality java production. It's an effort to elevate coffee to more sophisticated territory, treating it like wine and other artisanal items rather than a commodity like corn, and third wave coffee shops are popping up everywhere, each with their unique approach to beans and brewing. But before you decide to surf the third wave, here are five legal tips on opening a business.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Form a Partnership?

Partnerships are easy to form, if not always easy to maintain and manage smoothly, so you don't necessarily need a lawyer to create one. Still, having a lawyer formalize your agreement to co-own a business is a good idea, even if you and your new partner could go it alone technically. Let's look briefly at partnerships, how they are formed, and why you should consult with a lawyer.

5 Legal Tips for Startups Seeking Venture Capital

You have a great startup idea and you are hoping to get funding from venture capitalists. To do so you will need to know in advance the kind of questions they will ask and how to communicate your big idea, formulating everything from an elevator pitch to a detailed analysis of the market.

In an effort to anticipate all the questions you may face when seeking venture capital, Forbes put together a list. It has 65 questions, some as basic as "where are you headquartered?" For our purposes, however, we'll focus on five critical areas and the legal issues you must be aware of when seeking investment.

Harvard Profs Urge MBAs to Buy Businesses

You earned a Master of Business Administration, but are you really ready to master a business? If you do not have to urgently earn a living and have capital to invest, searching for a small business to head up is a good idea for graduates, according to the Harvard Business Review.

An article by two Harvard Business School professors analyzes student post-graduate decisions and long-term work stability, suggesting that taking a job may pay off short-term but in the long run buying a business may be a better choice. Let's look at the reasoning.

Whether part of the new gig economy or the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, you've made it: you are your own boss. And with the great power of self-employment, comes the even greater responsibility of handling everything from taxes and insurance to retirement plans and lawsuits.

So how do you know which issues you'll need to tackle and how to tackle them? Here's a quick list of the five best legal tips if you're self-employed:

5 Legal Tips for Starting a Business

So you are thinking of starting a business and you have some ideas about what might work and inspire investment. But you are not quite sure how to go about starting up your startup, or even where to begin researching all the relevant legal issues. What do you do?

Start here. This list of tips on initial business steps should help get you started on creating a business that is legal and successful.

Current estimates value the health app market at around $10 billion. Everyone wants to get in shape, and they want easy access to their health data to help boost their fitness and wellbeing. The trick is giving them access to that data, and storing it, without violating medical privacy laws.

Faced with the uncertainty of whether federal statutes like HIPAA apply to health tracking apps, the Department of Health and Human Services released new guidance to developers and vendors to make sure their health apps are HIPAA-compliant. Here's what you need to know:

Here's the good news: you've got a million- or billion-dollar idea. Here's the bad news: not all those dollars will be yours. No matter the idea, every startup has a team. And how those team members allocate ownership shares in the company could have profound legal and economic impacts on the startup.

So how do you get founder equity splits right?