Pete Meets… Merrill Mason, Startup Lawyer, Smith Anderson

There have been a variety of Pete Meets… podcast guests over the months, but few can offer the insight and wisdom of Merrill Mason, one of the deans of the Triangle’s startup lawyers. Mason is a partner at Raleigh’s Smith Anderson and has worked with startups in the Triangle for some three decades.

Born in Florida, he went on to attend eight schools before graduating high school but eventually made his home in North Carolina, graduating from UNC (both undergrad and law school) and finding his place as a startup lawyer. 

Mason previously co-founded Hutchison + Mason with Fred Hutchison (another local legal giant) and helped grow the firm to 20 lawyers targeting the legal needs of startups before he left for Smith Anderson in 2006.

And thanks as always to our sponsor TriNet!

Three highlights
  • At what stage does an entrepreneur need a real lawyer? Listen to Mason’s answer and how he believes a (free) early conversation with a startup lawyer like him can save you a lot of potential trouble later on. [22:45]
  • To Mason, the coronavirus recession has differed from prior economic declines of 2000-’01 and 2008. At least in technology, he said investors have been less likely to close their checkbooks. [37:50]
  • The Triangle tech startup ecosystem is not the same as it was in the 1990s, but there are still areas for improvement. Listen to how Mason believes the ecosystem has changed over time and why he’s bullish on the local market. [42:55]

Listen to the full episode (and subscribe!) below:

Or if you’re more of a visual learner, here’s the video:

About Suzanne Blake 362 Articles
Suzanne profiles startups and innovation for GrepBeat. Before working at GrepBeat, Suzanne attended UNC Chapel Hill, obtaining a degree in journalism and political science. Previously, she wrote for CNBC, QSR Magazine, FSR Magazine and The Daily Tar Heel.