ABA TECHSHOW: A Visit To Startup Alley

This year at ABA TECHSHOW, a showdown was held between 12 startups on the opening night, after which the startups set up camp in the EXPO Hall for the remainder of the conference. It didn’t take me long to work my way around and interview representatives from each company.

It quickly became clear that the products fell into one of two categories: 1) software designed to aid lawyers in their practices, and 2) online platforms created to connect different parties in the legal marketplace. There were six of each, so let’s delve into the practice management tools first.

First, there’s Alt Legal, cloud-based software that streamlines the management of IP filings by making it easy for lawyers and companies to identify, track, and manage IP filings.

Another product designed for a specific practice area is Doxly, which provides an online data room with built-in closing features, complete with checklists and tasks, for attorneys handling complex corporate transactions.

eBrevia is useful software for lawyers who often work with contracts and uses machine learning and natural language processing tools to streamline contract review, lease abstraction, and the mergers and acquisitions due diligence process.

For litigators, UniCourt analyzes legal data, including nationwide court records, to provide docket tracking, case research, and legal analytics on litigation trends, and attorney, judge, and party analytics.

For attorneys who bill hourly, Ping is a useful time-tracking solution that captures and reports all the time that a firm’s lawyers spend on their computer.

The last tool in this category is TrustBooks, which offers trust accounting software much like Quickbooks, but designed specifically to manage the unique features of lawyer trust accounts.

In the next category are the different online marketplace matching services. The startups in this category run the gamut, from matching clients and lawyers to matching lawyers with other legal professionals.

First, there’s Court Buddy, an online service that matches clients with lawyers who provide flat-rate, al-a-carte legal services.

Similarly, there’s LegalClick, another online site that matches legal clients with local lawyers who can handle their specific legal need.

JustLegal also connects clients with lawyers, and includes the ability to schedule a free consultation and securely video chat with local attorneys during the initial consultation.

Next up are online platforms that connect lawyers with other legal professionals. First, there’s Paladin, a tool that facilitates connecting lawyers with appropriate pro bono opportunities, a much-needed service these days.

Aggregate Law is another service that connects smaller law firms with freelance lawyers who handle matters on an as-needed basis, simplifying the outsourcing process and providing lawyers with vetted, reliable contract attorneys.

And, last but not least, there’s Clarilegal, which provides a similar service designed for larger law firms and corporations by allowing them to create proposals for ediscovery work which services providers can then bid on.

So those were the startups that participated in the showdown. It was a motley crew that offered lots of variety and potential. Whether you’re a large firm looking to streamline complex processes, a smaller firm seeking to increase efficiency, or an attorney seeking to connect with potential clients online, there was a legal company in startup alley that fit the bill.

And in case you’re wondering which startups prevailed in the showdown, by an audience vote: the winner was Ping, followed by Doxly, and then UniCourt.

ABA TECHSHOW 2018 will take place March 7th-10th. See you next year!

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