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The last thing you want dragging your startup down is long-term litigation. There are always legal risks to starting a business, but frivolous lawsuits and out-of-nowhere class action suits can scuttle your company before launch (or lunch, even).

One way many businesses -- large and small -- are attempting to avoid costly and damaging legal battles is through arbitration agreements, which funnel disputes to private dispute resolution rather than public courts. Here's a roundup of our small business arbitration coverage, to find out if arbitration agreements are right for your startup, and how and when you can use them.

Most entrepreneurs understand the legal risks they are taking when starting a new business. First off, you're probably taking on some loans that you'll be responsible for paying back. You're walking into a morass of federal, state, and local employment statutes. And contracts with customers, clients, and suppliers can always go sideways.

Few startups are expecting a full-blown class action lawsuit alleging violations of federal consumer protection laws. Small business can face setbacks for a million different reasons, but a large enough lawsuit could prove fatal. Here's how to survive a class action lawsuit as a startup:

As Apple Readies for 'Entrepreneur Camp,' Here Are a Few Legal Tips to Mind

Apple is launching a new series of workshops for women, called "Entrepreneur Camp." These are two-week programs which give female app developers coding tips, app design, and marketing ideas, as well as the opportunity to receive ongoing mentoring from an Apple representative. Sounds like a great asset when trying to start an app business. But what about the legal side of developing an app? In case Apple's legal team doesn't make it to camp, here are a few legal tips for any app entrepreneur.

'Shark Tank' Entrepreneur Sued for $300M in Fraud Case

"Shark Tank" entrepreneur and guest Shark, Jamie Siminoff, has found himself in rough waters before, and here he goes again. Siminoff, founder of Ring, has been named as a defendant in a fraud lawsuit brought by former board member and investor, Russell Stephens, to the tune of $300 million.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Negotiate Your Commercial Lease?

There are very few times then you must hire an attorney, but many times when you need to hire one. Which side do commercial leases fall on? The answer to that depends on you and your situation.

Startups: The Legal Case for Asking for Permission First

There are a handful of disruptive companies that have asked for forgiveness, rather than permission, when setting up a business. Classic examples are Airbnb, Uber, and Bird. Unsurprisingly, some particular lawyers have worked at all three! But is this really the best business model for success? That depends on your industry, investors, workers, and clients.

Here's the legal case for startups asking for permission first, rather than forgiveness later.

Does Your Startup Need a Nondisclosure Agreement?

Every startup should have a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA). NDAs protect the privacy rights of trade secrets. In essence, they keep private information private. If the agreement is a one-way NDA, then it protects the rights of the person that drafted the agreement. If it's a two-way NDA, both signing parties have protected their private discussion. It is one of the best ways to protect ideas so as to be able to have meaningful conversations with buyers, suppliers, potential employees, and investors. 

Though most often used in meetings involving technology and other forms of intellectual property, NDAs are also used when disclosing information that could lead to liability, such as insider trading. If you are trying to decide if your startup needs an NDA, ask yourself these questions.

Questions to Ask a Lawyer About Your Drone Startup

Congratulations! You've decided to start a drone business! But before you start flying around and performing all of the aerial nuances of your new business, you may want to visit a lawyer to determine what to do, and what not to do.

3 Equity Tips Every Startup Founder Should Know

Marry in haste, repent at leisure. The producers of The Bachelorette might disagree, but the vast majority of corporate founders would whole-heartedly nod their heads, and have five war stories to back it up.

Division of equity is the leading cause of angst among founders. If you and some co-founders are about to dive into the startup pool, and are wanting to talk equity split, here are a few tips to dodge the equity bullet.

Fun With Crowdfunding, Legally Speaking

You've got a great idea, and you're sure it's going to make it big! Now all you need is money, quite a bit more than you're willing to personally invest, to give this project some legs. Before you start blasting your friends on social media to announce your latest rewards-based crowdfunding project, here are a few things to consider before posting that Kickstarter campaign.