These days it is common for dot.com entrepreneurs, lured by the financial success of others, to consider taking their companies public only months after getting the business off the ground. But these free-wheeling executives often have no idea how much doing so will alter their corporate cultures and personal attitudes.

Enter the lawyers. Aside from assisting startups with completing registration statements, prospectuses and the myriad of other securities reporting requirements, attorneys representing these companies also act as close advisors preparing them for the vast changes that will occur.

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