Legal News and Views – Asia Pacific and Beyond

New Google Backed Website Helps Californian Startups With Legal Advice

Mainly interested in this site because we hadn’t heard about it before . we’d be interested to know if this information has crossed anybody else’s radar screen

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We learn from xconomy.com that? LawPivot is a new Google-backed one-stop shop for start up legal advice

Here’s the link to the piece in full

http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2011/02/28/lawpivot-the-google-backed-one-stop-shop-for-startup-legal-advice/

and this is the article.. we’ve bolded what we think are the interesting bits…. unfortunately it’s on;ly California at the moment but one can hope they’ll extend the jurisdictions as time moves forward

For startups, getting good legal advice can be costly and time-consuming. And for new lawyers, building up a client list also takes a big time commitment. Now there?s a Web Q&A site backed by Google Ventures that aims to solve both problems at once. It?s called LawPivot, and it recently set up shop right on the Google campus in Mountain View, CA, within easy striking distance of hundreds of Silicon Valley startups.

The company?s founders are veteran Silicon Valley lawyers Nitin Gupta and Jay Mandal. CEO Mandal was previously the lead mergers and acquisitions lawyer for Apple, and Gupta, vice president of business development, worked as an intellectual property litigation lawyer for Townsend and Townsend and Crew (now known as Kilpatrick Townsend). Both lawyers ?saw a lot of fundamental changes going on in the legal industry,? Gupta says. ?There were a lot of pain points for startups, and for the lawyers.?

For startups, one of the pain points is cost. The average billable rate for lawyers in Silicon Valley can run between $300 and $600 per hour, Gupta says, a hefty price for startups with limited capital. Different types of legal issues?immigration, intellectual property, patent?can require different kinds of lawyers, and tracking down the right one takes time and research. ?I?ve seen startups who avoided legal issues for the purpose of saving money because they were cost-conscious in the beginning, and it took a toll on them because they didn?t protect their intellectual property,? Gupta says.

Individual lawyers face a different problem. Once they join a firm, they need to drum up business to get promoted or make partner. But most lawyers aren?t prepared to make a good list of contacts straight out of school. ?All of a sudden, you?re expected to develop business within one or two years to hit partner at that law firm,? Gupta says. ?Lawyers are panicking.? According to Gupta, most lawyers only have 10 to 15 hours per month to dedicate to increasing their client list, and they need a more efficient way to develop their business.

LawPivot solves the problems on both sides, by connecting startups with qualified lawyers who will give them legal advice?for free.

Entrepreneurs can go on the site, draft their confidential legal questions, and tag them with keywords and the general subject matter. Once submitted, the LawPivot search engine will recommend up to 10 lawyers to answer the query, and the startups can use the suggestions and detailed lawyer profiles to pick the attorney they want to answer their questions. ?This isn?t a public forum,? Gupta says. ?In this situation, the company knows exactly who they?re sending their question to.? The companies can expect the answers to their questions to be in their inboxes within 24 to 48 hours. For the lawyers, it?s an introduction that will ?hopefully develop into a long-term relationship.?

The service is set up so that attorneys can only join the network if approved or invited by the LawPivot staff. ?As lawyers, we have a pretty extensive network,? Gupta says. The company isn?t releasing how many attorneys are on the service so far, but says they come from …… (read the rest at the link above)


Law Pivot’s About Us Page

What is LawPivot?

LawPivot is a legal Q&A site in which companies, and especially startups, can receive crowdsourced and confidential legal answers from highly qualified lawyers, and find the right lawyers for all their needs. Our management team consists of the former lead mergers and acquisitions lawyer for Apple Inc. and lawyers who worked at top national law firms. We started LawPivot in order to ease the burden on companies in finding answers to their legal questions, in an easy and affordable way.

Why should companies and lawyers use LawPivot?

Companies will benefit from using LawPivot in the following ways:
significantly reduce the costs in receiving answers to legal questions
receive confidential answers to sensitive legal questions by multiple lawyers, which a company can personally select
quickly find the best lawyers on LawPivot to answer questions and address other specific legal needs

LawPivot addresses the needs of a company that has no lawyer, has an outside lawyer, or has an inhouse lawyer as a primary or supplementary solution to find legal answers.

For a lawyer, LawPivot is a highly efficient business development tool to directly connect with key decision makers at companies who are specifically seeking that lawyer’s advice and expertise.

How does it work?

Click here for an explanation on how LawPivot works.

How can you join LawPivot?

LawPivot invites all California companies, including startups, and California lawyers with several years of work experience and specialization with companies to join LawPivot. Companies may try LawPivot for a free trial through the end of February, and lawyers can use LawPivot for free. Click here to request a free invitation to join LawPivot.

We also encourage you to sign up if you are outside of California, and we will inform you as soon as we expand our service to your state. In addition, we encourage you to sign up if you are a company outside California looking for help with a California legal matter.