Need a Lawyer? Legal Marketplace UpCounsel Launches in Texas

Texas startups looking for a deal on a corporate lawyer can now access UpCounsel, an online marketplace of attorneys that officially launched in the state today.

UpCounsel lets small- and medium-sized businesses request bids for legal services, ranging from contract-specific projects to hourly retainer services. Attorneys on UpCounsel will be most readily available in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, said founder Matt Faustman, the company’s CEO.

“A big part of our thesis is that we work with attorneys that come from the best law firms or companies in the world, and for whatever reason they’re now on their own or in very small firms,” Faustman said in a telephone interview.

Attorneys with their own practices or at small ones lack the overhead costs associated large firms, helping keep the price of the services low, Faustman said. UpCounsel also helps the price, aiding attorneys with some of the administrative tasks, from finding new clients and scheduling appointments to communicating with clients on its platform, he said.

San Francisco-based UpCounsel charges a percentage of the legal costs, somewhere between 5 percent and 12 percent, Faustman said. Though it is not yet profitable, the company is using the revenue it does have to hire, with seven open positions in San Francisco. Faustman said UpCounsel may begin hiring in other areas it expands to, such as Austin.

The company, founded in 2012, initially launched its service in California and New York. It used $2.4 million of seed funding led by Metamorphic Ventures and Crosslink Capital in December to expand to Texas and Illinois, according to a statement.

UpCounsel will likely pursue further venture funding, though it is not currently in the process of fundraising, Faustman said.

Faustman said UpCounsel doesn’t accept every attorney who applies to be listed. About 10,000 have registered, while only a few hundred have been listed on the site, he said.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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