LawPivot: The Google-Backed, One-Stop Shop for Startup Legal Advice

2/28/11Follow @xconomy

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firms of all sizes in and around the Silicon Valley. At this point, all of the lawyers are California State Bar certified and can give advice to companies based in the Golden State, or companies from other states that are dealing with legal issues in California.

Signing up for LawPivot is free for both attorneys and companies until at least the end of March. The company is still trying to figure out what kind of payment model it will use, both for the startups and the lawyers. According to Gupta, they’re still debating whether they will charge a subscription or per question for the companies, or if they will charge the lawyers a premium for upgraded profiles or a subscription.

So far, though, the company is in a good spot financially. After bootstrapping initially, LawPivot raised $600,000 a couple of months ago, much of it coming from Google Ventures and angel investors including Allen Morgan, David Austin, and Deep Nishar. Three weeks ago, LawPivot moved into new offices on the Google campus, where Google Ventures has created a kind of incubator for some of its portfolio companies. “We’re super excited about that,” Gupta says. The Google backing also comes with benefits like PR and product support.

LawPivot isn’t the only Q&A site out there—Quora is an obvious example—but because they aren’t targeted in the same way that LawPivot is, Gupta doesn’t see them as direct competitors. He also points out that the basic LawPivot algorithms matching lawyers to company questions were developed by engineer Steven Kam, who has bachelor’s degrees in computer science and economics as well as a law degree. “Our VP of engineering looks at everything from a legal standpoint,” he says. “From a product perspective, that’s how we differentiate ourselves.”

Gupta is pleased with the response so far, both from the startups looking for advice and from the lawyers who have joined the network. He says the company has been getting a lot of positive feedback, particularly from the lawyers, who appreciate how the network allows them to “market themselves in a target crowd by creating robust profiles.”

LawPivot may be helping lawyers on its network spend less time in the office working to increase their client lists, but Gupta, who isn’t currently practicing, is working as much as ever. “It’s a different kind of work,” he says. “And I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur.”

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  • http://willzuckermann.wordpress.com Will Zuckermann

    I love this concept. Quality legal advice is often the exclusive preserve of startups with the means to retain ‘marquee’ counsel. A service like this can enable key stakeholders to asses the calibre of a lawyer by the quality of their advice not the glitter of their client base or depth of their relationship with VC’s.

  • http://duilawyerstips.com J Donaldson

    LawPivot is a great idea. Thank You for the post. I will subscribe to your feed so that I can see more.

  • http://sharklance.com Pat Henry

    Between this and Google’s investment in Rocket Lawyer, you have to wonder at some point whether they’ll essentially destroy the power of the state bar associations with regard to the practice of law.

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