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One of the more satisfying things about being a lawyer is the opportunity to build deep, important relationships with your clients. Many times, those clients are business owners and investors. When that’s the case, lawyers are often presented with the opportunity to co-invest alongside firm clients in private investment funds or directly in a private company.

For example, let’s say you do a lot of work for a real estate developer. One day you get an email from her offering you the opportunity to co-invest in a private real estate fund she is raising to develop multifamily housing in your city. Or perhaps you are active in the venture capital arena. You no doubt have been approached with the opportunity to invest in a VC fund or perhaps directly in a single early stage company with “huge upside.”

While these are likely indications that you have forged solid relationships with your clients, they also present somewhat of a challenge. Without a process for evaluating these opportunities, you can easily end up with a hodgepodge, disparate collection of private investments. So, how should you evaluate the merits of these investments? What should you take into consideration as you decide whether to invest? If you do invest, what’s the right amount to invest?

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