Launchpad IGNITION: Lawyerfy

I've been sued a fair number of times over the years. To me it's just the cost of doing business - you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. But in each of those experiences, the least pleasant aspect was dealing with my own lawyer. My lawyer is expensive and has a knack for making me feel like a small fish in a big pond. I hesitate to even pick up the phone to call her for an update because I know a 15-minute conversation is going to cost me $125.

I now know I'm not the only one who feels this way. And I now know that it's a problem for my lawyer, too.

The first thing you notice about Lawyerfy founder Jeffrey Lin is the intensity of his stare. Coming from anyone else it might be off-putting; when Jeff does it you get the sense that he just wants to make sure you "get it". And from the moment he showed me the Lawyerfy app, I got it. My days of spendy 15-minute conversations with my lawyer are over.

Client retention has become a huge part of the legal business these days. People are price sensitive in this economy, and going to court on either end of a lawsuit is expensive. The last thing clients want to do is pay to find out what stage their case is at or what further documentation they need to provide to their attorney.

On the other side of the phone, lawyers need a tool to keep track of all their cases, to assign paralegals to specific tasks, and to see how an individual case is progressing and what it's going to take to move the football towards conclusion. Perhaps the worst use of their time is digging up case files to update clients over the phone.

That's where Lawyerfy comes in. Lawyerfy is a web app that frames legal cases as the team sport they are. When your lawyer opens a case for you, you become a member of the team for that case on Lawyerfy. That means you can log on and check the progress of your case and find out what your lawyer needs from you at any time with no charge. That is a BIG benefit for clients, and a BIG benefit for the lawyers who no longer have to field those time-consuming update calls.

More than that, though, Lawyerfy is a complete case management tool for the attorney. All the details of the case are stored in Lawyerfy, and a visual timeline shows how the case is progressing and what milestones need to be achieved. It is also a project management tool which enables the attorney to assign tasks to others in the office, and it pulls them into the case as well so everyone (including the client) can see what is being done.

That's what it does today. But from the moment I saw it, I saw what it is likely to become in the near future: a complete CRM system for the legal profession.

I asked Jeff why lawyers and he said:

"We see a huge opportunity for innovation and growth in the legal space. One key piece of information we discovered was that lawyers spent over $6,500 per year on technology services. With nearly 1.5 million lawyers and several hundred thousand more legal service staff in the US, there is a big opportunity to sell into the legal service industry."

Okay, so why New Orleans?

"There were a couple of different reasons we chose Launchpad NOLA. First, although Launchpad is still a relatively young program, the buzz that it was able to generate was tremendous. Even when we were based out in Los Angeles, we heard what Chris Schultz and Peter Bodenheimer were doing out here in New Orleans and we knew we had to be a part of it.

Secondly, New Orleans is such an awesome city to be in. The people, the culture and the food, it had so much that we were blown away by it. Coupled with the fact that New Orleans has one of the highest concentration of lawyers in the United States, we knew it would be the optimal place to launch a lawyer focused product like ours. Looking back at it, we could not have made a better choice than coming to Launchpad NOLA."

The company is currently self-funded, but its reception in the New Orleans legal community has been phenomenal. Beta testing in the New Orleans area has gone so well and they've received such good feedback that they're ready to extend the beta nationwide. Attorneys can apply to beta test at the Lawyerfy site.

Jeffrey Lin has agreed to answer any questions you might have in the comments section, so fire away guys.

 
TheKing:
This seems like a no-brainer of a product.
Exactly what I've heard from all the guys I know working in law that I sent this to.

Obviously this would work well for people like Eddie who have a vested interest, understand the process, etc. I don't know how well it would work for the lower tier (petty criminal offenders, traffic shit, etc.). Definitely going to be on the look out for it though.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
 

Hackers will come in handy with this

"One should recognize reality even when one doesn't like it, indeed, especially when one doesn't like it." - Charlie Munger
 

To add:

I like hearing about companies like this so much more than many of the bullshit social-web consumer "companies" that come along because this actually provides a compelling service that people would be willing to pay for. Twitter, for all its positive attributes, has been around for 6 years and has hundreds of millions of dollars invested in it and hasn't made a nickel of profit. These guys are self-funded and have a product with a clear path to profitability.

 
TheKing:
To add:

I like hearing about companies like this so much more than many of the bullshit social-web consumer "companies" that come along because this actually provides a compelling service that people would be willing to pay for. Twitter, for all its positive attributes, has been around for 6 years and has hundreds of millions of dollars invested in it and hasn't made a nickel of profit. These guys are self-funded and have a product with a clear path to profitability.

Ditto. While the social aspects of Twitter (re Middle East unrest) are admirable, I think something that is new and provides a service is more admirable.

I mean someone could have told you MySpace's flaw back in 06 and recommended improvements which we now see in FB. Creating something new to save money and streamline a process are much more clap-worthy.

 

I obviously haven't seen the Lawyerfy software, but it seems more attractive to the client than the attorney. Even then, when there aren't updates on the 'CRM' it will likely generate a phone call anyway. It's my understanding that the clients with adequate volume and sway to do so (e.g., insurance companies) already implement something of this sort, usually with quasi-proprietary or other specialized software. From a smaller client standpoint, I can definitely see an appeal in it though and I guess there's something to that. I have a hard time seeing it as a game changer though, even in a niche market.

 

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