EJ: I can think of how I might approach this. If I were in that position, I might try to go out and get large clients first then see if I could subcontract that work to some lawyers I knew. How did you approach validating this idea. Was was most important to validate: that lawyers would want to be entrepreneurial, or that clients would use a service like this?
Raad: Because it's a marketplace, you're validating both of those needs. When you look at it from the side of an independent lawyer joining the platform, you want to validate if they can actually leverage this for a source of income. Are there real dollars that can be passed from this platform?
There's been plenty of companies before that just did lead gen that would charge lawyers a subscription and sell them contact forms, then they would pay per contact and take it offline. I didn't want to build that kind of business. That's been done by the late ‘90s, early ‘00s directory websites.
We started off in a pretty manual way. We used Square readers as a way to pass money back and forth before we built out a more automated payment platform.
On the supply side, will they earn enough to stay on the platform? The demand side was the harder one. We pivoted through it a couple of times. We originally started selling to everyday people with all sorts of legal needs. Then we narrowed it down to small businesses and early-stage tech companies.
Now we've found product market fit with scaling pre-IPO tech companies with an in-house legal team. For that, it was validating if they would use something like Lawtrades instead of a traditional BigLaw firm that’s been around for a 100+ years where they have deep connections and relationships. Will they actually try out something new?
That's been a little bit of an uphill battle, but after Covid- most companies were forced to cut their legal budgets in half and hire remote workers. The pandemic actually helped accelerate our growth because it forced companies into considering us as a viable option. Since then, the growth has been snowballing.