Buying Legal Tech from a Startup
You're at a law firm or an in-house legal department that's thinking of purchasing cutting-edge legal tech from a legal tech startup. Wonderful!!
Charlie Uniman here, founder and host of Legal Tech StartUp Focus (LTSF), a free online community of over 800 (and growing) members worldwide dedicated to the success of legal tech startups, their customers and their investors. So, while legal tech startups do have a special place in my heart (given my involvement with LTSF), as a 40-year veteran of practicing corporate law in New York City law firms, I do appreciate the concerns that affect legal tech purchasers as they weigh the risks and rewards of dealing with legal tech startup vendors.
What about those risks and rewards in dealing with startup vendors? The rewards include dealing with vendors who are eager for your business and feedback, and who are therefore likely to be more flexible in meeting your business needs and in negotiating licensing terms with you. These rewards also include getting exposure to software technology that may be brand new to the market and also getting exposure to new workflows inherent in the design of startup vendors' software that may give you a competitive edge.
But, as with most rewarding things, dealing with startups poses risks. One such risk involves, of course, the survivability of the startups. One of the last things that you want to have happen is to find that, after laying out some not insignificant amount of money to get the software up and running, and discovering that it works well for your lawyer and other users, you discover that the startup you had been dealing with has gone out of business. Less drastic (for the startup, at least) is your learning that a startup's chief (and perhaps only) software engineer has left that startup for another job and that there's no one on the engineering staff with enough skill and experience to maintain the software and respond to support requests.
I'll be leading a seminar at this year's LegalEx conference which aims to increase the likelihood of you enjoying the rewards of purchasing legal tech from a startup, while minimizing the likelihood of your suffering from the risks associated with that kind of purchase. I look forward to seeing you at LegalEX in March.
By Charlie Uniman, Founder & Host of Legal Tech Startup Focus