Start-up Companies

Alma Asay

It’s the one about the tech-illiterate Biglaw associate (I know, you’ve heard that one) who walks away from her promising career at one of the most prestigious law firms in the country . . . to invent a new category of software. . . for litigating! A magical software program that makes you better as a litigator and is so cool that you wish you thought of it yourself.

For this next profile in legal entrepreneurship, I’m excited to introduce Alma Asay, creator of Allegory. You may not have heard of Allegory yet, but pretty soon, it will be a household name for every litigator who wants to be at the top of their game.

Alma’s story has a special place in my heart because she is living my dream: bringing her success in Biglaw to the whole legal community through the wonders of technology. I met Alma earlier this year in Palo Alto, where she was embracing her inner Silicon Valley and I was speaking at Stanford Law’s awesome CodeX FutureLaw conference.  We chatted over cocktails about the legal industry, law firm shenanigans, and life after Biglaw for those of us who didn’t run away screaming. I loved her stories of adventures in legal startup, and her product. Hopefully, you will too.

(Did I mention I get paid by the click?  I’m kidding, but really, keep reading . . . this is a good one).

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An artist’s visualization of the recent Clio Cloud Conference.

Big used to matter in companies providing legal support, research, and services solutions to law firms.

Lots of money, broad distribution networks, seasoned executives, big conference booths, and fancy branding collateral.

Big was the safe choice. You didn’t get fired for buying from the big company from which every other law firm was buying.

No longer. Small startups are becoming the providers of choice for law firms across the country — and the world.

First, larger legal companies are struggling. They are laying off people. They’re have trouble bringing innovation to the market. Will they be around for the long haul?

Second, law firms like small, for a lot of reasons:

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Ed. note: Please welcome Above the Law’s guest conversationalist, Zach Abramowitz, of blogcasting platform ReplyAll. You can see some of his other conversations and musings here.

Before leaving Biglaw for good, I considered doing what I felt like was the next best thing to launching my own startup: working at a firm whose clients were primarily startups. The pitch from recruiters was always the same: startups and venture capital clients are much better to work with than their “big company” and private equity counterparts.

But I wasn’t buying it. Biglaw is Biglaw. It doesn’t matter if your client is Alcoa or three co-founders with the hottest new dating app (it uses an algorithm to tell you who at the nightclub wants you to buy them a drink); clients will be demanding, and legal work is legal work.

But more and more of my former colleagues who have made the jump have been telling me that there’s truth to the claim that “startups are more fun.” So, to get some clarity on this issue, I decided to invite Ed Zimmerman, the founder of the tech group at Lowenstein Sandler and a columnist at the WSJ Accelerators Blog, to join me for a conversation on this topic. Since on-campus interviews are right around the corner, I thought this topic would be nicely timed.

And since we’re creating the conversation using ReplyAll, make sure to keep checking back on our conversation as it develops over the course of the week…

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Ed note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Dan Lear explores the role of technology in the future of the legal industry.

“A lot of people have recently jumped in [to the legal tech/startup space] but the fact is that law isn’t any different than any other industry.” Josh Kubicki – Co-founder Lex Redux

In August 2011 Mark Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and noted venture capitalist, wrote an essay in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why Software is Eating the World.” In it Andreessen stated that software had already revolutionized many industries: bookselling (think Amazon vs. Borders), video rental (Netflix vs. Blockbuster), and music (iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora) and warned: “Companies in every industry need to assume that a software revolution is coming.” (Emphasis added.)

Fast forward less than three years and Lex Redux may be the sound of the software revolution arriving at the legal industry’s doorstep.

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Sunny Choi of Ms. JD interviews lawyers who have found their passion by leaving the law.

Fact: The law isn’t for everyone. Fiction: You have to practice law if you’re a law school graduate.

Sometimes, you just have to leave the law completely and follow the road less traveled in order to find your true passion. I’ve interviewed two former attorneys who were brave enough to venture into the unknown and in the process, discover their passions outside of the law.

MEE-JUNG JANG (New York, NY)

1. What is your current occupation or line of work?

I’m the founder/CEO of a tech startup called Voncierge.com.

2. Did you practice any law after graduating, and if so, where and what did you practice?

I practiced corporate and IP law at Cleary Gottlieb in Manhattan for about two years.

3. What made you decide to completely leave the law and pursue a startup?

Continue reading at the ATL Career Center…

Ronan Farrow: a former Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree turned contest judge.

Since 2012, the list-loving folks at Forbes have been publishing “30 Under 30″ compilations for various fields of endeavor. The 2014 lists just came out, and they include, of course, a 30 Under 30 for law and public policy. We noted the news in yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs.

Such lists generate great traffic, but they also exhibit a somewhat arbitrary character that can be criticized, even mocked. The New Yorker, for example, took inspiration from Forbes to create 3 Under 3: Entrepreneurs, Intellectuals, Toddlers.

A list of notable legal eagles under 30 presents additional problems. Unlike, say, sports or the arts, where people over 30 might already be “over the hill,” law doesn’t lend itself to super-young prodigies. As Miguel Morales of Forbes points out in introducing the list, “It’s never easy for FORBES staffers to sniff out the 30 best and brightest Millennials making an impact on their fields. In law and public policy, where most people are barely out of law school by 30, let alone blazing trails in their fields, the task sometimes felt farcical.”

Whether it’s farcical or not, we know you want to see the list. Let’s have a peek, shall we?

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Being general counsel is like being Tom Hagen in the Godfather — you’re a Consigliere.

– A “top lawyer at a New York City startup,” explaining the value of creative lawyering to getting a new business off the ground. Daniel Doktori of WilmerHale spoke to a number of GCs about when startups should hire a lawyer and how to make the most of their new counsel when they do. Just always remember that Tommy isn’t a wartime consigliere.

Video games and the law are quite a combination. Sometimes games spawn lawsuits, like Zynga’s case against the makers of Bang With Friends (which should really just change its name to Bangville, as Joe Patrice suggested). Sometimes the law spawns games, like Primordia, created by Harvard Law grad Mark Yohalem.

Are you a lawyer who enjoys playing video games? And do you like making money?

Here’s one lawyer’s story of how he took his interest in gaming and monetized it quite nicely….

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Are you interested in building and growing a virtual law practice, or hoping to obtain new clients for your existing law practice? If so, here’s a new tool that you might want to investigate.

The team behind it includes two lawyers who used to work at major law firms. Let’s hear more about the platform they’ve designed and how they made the move from counseling start-ups to launching one of their own….

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Out west, we’re in the middle of a gold rush. Programmers, marketers, and young business school grads are flocking to the Bay Area all with big dreams of striking start-up gold.

If you wander down Market Street, you’ll hear people mumbling a mantra: “Internet business. Internet business. Internet business.” Or perhaps, “Please let Google buy me. Please let Google buy me.”

Lawyers don’t usually play too much into this equation, except for the unfortunate in-house counsel tasked with explaining to a start-up’s management why playing beer pong in the conference room during work hours may be an unwise decision.

Or are attorneys much more relevant here than the layman might realize? Yesterday, the New York Times profiled a storied Biglaw firm that’s playing quite a part in the current tech bubble boom. It’s not this firm’s first time at the rodeo, but other firms smell dollars in the air, too, and there’s a battle brewing over who will represent the next Google, Facebook, what have you.

Which Biglaw firm is leading the charge?

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