Frequently Asked Questions  (Video)

Am I eligible?

Eligible McDermott Rise members include early-stage and emerging companies founded by or whose senior leadership is composed of at least 50% Black, Indigenous and other people of color. We suggest candidates have a comprehensive and innovative business plan, are solving an important problem and have an immediate need for an experienced legal team.

Does it matter what stage of financing my company is?

Companies at early-stage funding levels (before Series A) are invited to apply.

What other benefits do members have beyond the scope of free legal services?

All members have access to the Resource Center, free events, legal forms, office hours and networking opportunities, including our global network of venture capital firms, private equity funds, incubators, accelerators and management consultancy firms.

What scope of services can I expect to receive after I’ve been selected?

We have lawyers across several practice areas. Some common examples of legal issues applicable to McDermott Rise members include documenting a fundraising, tax matters, applying for a patent, securing a trademark, developing compliant privacy and cybersecurity policies, employment law, IP, Payroll Protection Program eligibility and selling or planning an exit later.

How do I know which practice areas apply to my business?

Each McDermott Rise cohort will participate in an Orientation Series. The kick-off session will introduce the program and answer any questions. Following the kick-off, each member is invited to additional practice area-specific orientation sessions (recordings are also available for members following each session). The purpose is to help members understand possible areas that will enable them to tackle an important project to grow, scale or launch their business. Practice areas include:

  • Data Privacy & Cybersecurity
  • Payroll Protection Program (PPP)
  • Incentive Compensation
  • Planning an Exit Later
  • What You Need to Know about Personal Estate Planning
  • Tax
  • Enterprise Organization
  • Funding and Financing
  • Employment Law
  • Patents and Trademarks

What information do I need to apply?

Applications should include:
  • Contact information
  • Percentage of senior leadership/founders who are Black or people of color
  • Industry/business vertical
  • Stage of financing
  • 150 words or fewer describing what is unique about your business
  • Submission video (strongly encouraged but not required)
  • Business plan (strongly encouraged but not required)

If I am selected, what do I get?

Selected members will receive 25 hours of free legal counsel. Depending on the scope of services, there may be instances when individual projects, like securing a patent, requires slightly over the allotted 25 hours. In some cases, McDermott will offer flexibility and the additional hours could be included in the benefits.

What happens after the complimentary hours are used?

Once the complimentary hours are used, we will defer up to $50,000 of fees until the next fundraising or milestone event, or up to a maximum of 18 months.

Does McDermott Rise provide business funding?

McDermott does not provide funding. McDermott can help navigate the legal landscape to help your business secure funding through fundraising, PE, VCs, etc.

Can businesses apply more than once if they’ve already been selected?

Because of a high volume of applications, we are only accepting new members at this time. Once McDermott Rise members are selected and use their free legal hours, we provide options for deferred payments and access to additional resources.

Who will be my main point of contact?

Following acceptance into the program, members will receive a welcome email from their McDermott Rise advocate. Advocates will serve as the member’s main point of contact.

How many McDermott Rise members are selected, and how often?

We select 20 companies per year, added on a rolling basis.

Where can I apply?

How can I submit questions or ask for additional information?

Contact us at


Learn more about the McDermott Rise program including; who should apply, application steps and more.

Ready to Apply

Ready to Apply

If you think your business would be a good fit for McDermott Rise and you’ve reviewed our terms and conditions we encourage you to submit an application using the below link.



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