Usually when technologists think of startup companies it conjures up images of entrepreneurs in need of legal advice:
- New currency: How a law firm helps Bitcoin entrepreneurs
- Tailored services: Law firms offering packaged startup legal services
- Apps for parking: Startups navigating the legal implications of entrepreneurship
- Intellectual property: Legal counsel for protecting ideas
- Even supreme cases: Aereo’s high profile case
In the last several months we’ve noted a different angle taking shape in the market – the legal community is increasingly taking counsel from startups, or so to speak. Primarily this has centered on a business philosophy: How to apply the “lean startup” model to legal services.
“Lean” is product development methodology popularized by author and entrepreneur Eric Ries – it’s the model we follow in developing tools like the Firm Manager product – but has not just started and ended with conversations about methodologies. Real money is flowing into the legal community – and that’s why it’s our chosen topic for today’s Friday Share series.
In fact, nearly half-a billion dollars in venture capital investments surged into legal startups in 2013 – up significantly from the $66 million in 2012 according to the ABA Journal. In addition, a new infographic, developed by a legal startup, and first published on Lawyerist, shows a sizable investment trend has continued (at least in the US).
It’s worth pointing out the original blog post included an embedded spreadsheet that anyone can review. The infographic itself, which is shown nearby, also includes a number of conversation-starting figures including:
- Market sizing: There are 108 legal startups in the US legal industry in the right now.
- Timing: There’s been a clear trend upwards of new legal startups being launched: 20 in 2011, 20 in 2012, and 35 in 2013; just seven have been launched so far in the first half of 2014.
- Funding: $76,500,000 in these US legal startups this year.
- Focus: Startups focused on the legal marketplace – think getting temporary legal help – with 25.
The influx of ideas and investment is likely to have a shaping effect on the legal community including service providers and vendors alike. If we, as a community, listen carefully enough, there might be a play from a startup playbook that’s worthwhile adopting. There’s usually room for a few more good ideas.
Here’s the complete infographic:
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