Monday, September 2, 2013
Introductions, or: Bringing to Law a Little More Order
This blog is meant to chronicle the rise of law-related startups and other innovative legal solutions that will afford people more access to justice. But first, a point of honesty-- I really don't know what's out there, and chances are, I'm guessing most people (and even lawyers) don't know either. When I first tried to start Lawcerna in March 2013, I thought I was bloody brilliant for coming up with the idea that law was a field that could or should be disrupted. Fast forward a couple of months, my list of "competitors" made me feel like I was the last person on Earth to have the light bulb go off.
Lawcerna, for now, is belly-up, but I wanted to provide a space for legal entrepreneurs to share their lessons and experiences with each other. After all, the larger we build this community and the more people we encourage to explore legal innovation, the higher the chances are that there will be someone or some people out there who "make it." The more who "make it," the better it is for consumers of legal services, ultimately. Plus, we'll convert those in the legal profession along the way to be more open to better, more efficient way to deliver legal services.
Why does legal innovation matter? A few reasons. The legal industry has priced itself into oblivion, and only in the financial reach of the rich and, sometimes, the destitute (though there is rapidly shrinking funding for non-profit legal services). Due to sky-high tuition rates, lawyers feel financially compelled to work for big law firms to pay their student debt. The ABA continues to sit on its hands when it comes to access to capital, deregulation, and deployment of technology in the legal sector. While every other sector is undergoing disruption, so much of the legal field remains antiquated and old-school. Change is probably also very welcome to lawyers themselves, as we surpass dentists as #1 in suicides. Probably not a great thing thing to brag about...
But there is hope. A few brave souls are trying to change the way law is taught, understood, and practiced. Legal startups and virtual law firms seem to be springing up left and right. Most (like Lawcerna) seem to go under within a year, but many are still chugging along. Their contributions will hopefully create a kinder, gentler practice of law financially accessible to the middle class. It's a commendable effort, so this blog will attempt to capture their stories here. Suggestions are always welcome.