Lawyers and physicians were among the latest group to adopt new technologies. That is, until the iPhone and iPad hit the market.
Now, these tablet wielding, hyper-connected professionals offer a new opportunity for startups. As one of the earliest employees at Doximity, Avlok Kohli was astonished at how rapidly its “Facebook for doctors” tool spread among physicians.
This inspired him to leave Doximity and form a new company, a social network for attorneys, dubbed LegalReach. Kohli told me he has been equally surprised by the rapid adoption. By tapping into law school alumni networks, Legal Reach was able to reach critical mass of lawyers “much sooner than expected.”
“Lawyers see value in technology, but they are still a very conservative bunch,” said Kohli. Most law schools haven’t committed to keeping graduates in touch. LegalReach is intent on filling in the gap, and is encouraging lawyers to source and refer new business. In future, this lead generation service may prove to be a profitable revenue model.
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LegalReach is now used by 10,000 active attorneys, and is running active alumni networks for 275 law schools in the U.S. It is growing like wildfire; in the month of June, its base of attorneys quadrupled.
With a sufficient number of lawyers using the service, Kohli is shifting his attention to the consumer experience. Just this week, the startup made the service available to anyone in need of legal advice. Whether you’re a small business owner or addressing a personal matter, you can use the site to find a suitable lawyer. The company promises that you’ll receive a response within 24 hours.
The company does not plan to charge consumers to use the site. However, when people register a legal query or complaint on the site, lawyers have the opportunity to reach out and offer their services. Lawyers will be required to pay to send a private message, a potential revenue stream for LegalReach.
To ensure that consumers won’t be bombarded with messages, LegalReach will only allow a handful of lawyers to reach out.
Kohli believes that recent shifts in the industry will precipitate an upswing in legal-tech startups. Restructuring of the large, conservative, white-shoe law firms and the growth of solo practitioners and small firms has driven lawyers to be more transparent about their hourly fees, and to find new business online.
Related: Read about the legal-tech startups that are bringing you affordable access to justice.
However, the major challenge facing legal-tech entrepreneurs is the lack of venture financing. Kohli may run into this problem when he’s ready to raise a more sizable round. But he has succeeded in securing $900,000 in seed funding from IronPort founder Scott Banister and AngelList founder Naval Ravikant.