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Notes from the ABA TECHSHOW 2018 Startup Alley

By Tim Baran

Year after year, I refer to ABA TECHSHOW as the “relationship” conference. It’s where you spend time with old friends, make new ones, provide and receive mentorship, and come away energized with lots of new ideas to try out with a community of support behind you.

In the past couple of years, this community has included members of the Startup Alley. This year, 15 innovative legal startups were showcased in the Expo hall after winning a Start-Up Pitch Competition put on by a joint effort between ABA TECHSHOW, Above the Law, Evolve Law and Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites blog.

Between speaking engagements, I scurried down to the Expo to talk with the young innovators, record some of our conversations, and then follow up with a few emails. The passion was palpable, the energy contagious. Here, then, are their stories.


Comments shared by Trevor F. Jones, J.D., Managing Director

Caliber, or the concept of Caliber, was created as a response to the complacency and the under-performance of the court reporting agency industry today. The companies and agencies that served the market were decades behind the modern technology being used in similar professional services industries, and Caliber presented a real opportunity to deliver a value to current users of these services. We spent nearly a full year speaking with court reporters, paralegals, legal staff, associates and partners before working with a development company to custom build our proprietary platform.

Our platform serves anyone who is looking to use a court reporter — from hearings to depositions to trials. The primary users are litigators but there are applications for others, such as general counsel, who would be served by using us as well. The platform was also designed for court reporters, and I want to call this out as I think it is important to recognize how they too have been cast aside from most modern agencies. We spent a great deal of time building out tools and functions to make their job not only easier but also more rewarding than alternative agencies they work with today.

If I could characterize the feedback we’ve received from our clients, it would be “Finally!” In some ways, the first time you use the platform is like the first time you used Uber — most of our users instantly understand how easy and simple it is. The future looks good as well.  Every single month we are seeing more court reporters come on board as well as clients. We have been working extensively with our developer team to map out myriad additional features we plan to launch this year. I am most excited for the partnerships we are building this year. There are a lot of ways we can team up with additional providers to add even more value to our clients, from case management systems to conference room rental sites, to voice and video conferencing services.

Digitory Legal

Comments shared by Catherine Krow, Founder & CEO

Digitory Legal is a legal cost prediction and management platform for law firms and corporate legal departments. We use historical data and industry trends to help customers understand what matters cost and why. With this insight, law firms and clients can align resources and work together to develop the right fee structure for each matter.

I founded Digitory Legal to help lawyers and in-house legal departments respond to an evolving legal market and to solve cost management challenges in ways that promote trust and collaboration. Having practiced law at top-tier firms for 17 years myself — most recently as a litigation partner at Orrick — I understand how difficult it can be to predict costs for complex matters and how important it is to get this right in today’s market.

Digitory Legal has received rave reviews from its users (you can find testimonials and product reviews on our website) and is now integrated with Clio. We were thrilled to announce our data transformation and visualization services at TECHSHOW, and the response has been fantastic. We have just launched our enterprise platform, which is designed for midsize to large firms and corporations.


Comments shared by Tucker Cottingham, CEO

Lawyaw is a simple cloud-based document automation and electronic signature platform for attorneys. We offer a library of over 5,000 up-to-date court forms, and the ability to convert your custom Microsoft word documents into smart templates. We use sophisticated technology to remove the complicated and time-intensive onboarding and setup of existing document assembly and automation tools.

We integrate with Clio and have an eFiling integration that we will roll out soon.

I am an attorney and former partner at the Bend Law Group. Co-founder Lawyaw Vahed Qazvinian is a computer scientist who built language understanding algorithms at Google Search for several years.

We’ve brought on more than 1,000 California law firms and are currently offering early access registration for the rest of the country.


Comments shared by James H. Beckett, CEO

Qualmet is a law firm performance management company with a cloud-based platform that in-house counsel uses to measure the performance of outside counsel. Although the target right now is in-house counsel, law firms will want to get in on it.

Performance metrics focus on all the non-substantive areas of law — like knowledge of law, communication, understanding a company’s culture, risk profile, how much staff matters, volume of work, bedside manner and so on.

The idea originated with Mark Smolik, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of DHL’s Supply Chain operations in the Americas, who has been measuring law firms’ performance for the past 10 years.

Savvy Suit

Comments shared by Eli Mattern, CEO

SaavySuit is a software development company with one product on the market and one forthcoming. The program on the market is the Pro Bono Catalog that showcases available pro bono opportunities so lawyers can shop for the kinds of cases they’re interested in. There’s also a white label version in Florida with 34 organizations on board. Some are traditional legal aid programs

So far, most of the cases taken from the site have been by attorneys new to the firm — not the typical attorney who would take such cases. We consider that a success.

The co-founders met at a legal aid organization and started working on it during their free time in 2014, then went all in in 2017.

Paying clients are either legal aid or grantor organizations, like the Florida Bar Foundation, and the end users are the attorneys who find cases on the site.


Comments shared by Will Norton, Founder and CEO

SimplyAgree is a signature and closing management tool for transactional attorneys. The application helps attorneys as they’re getting ready to close their deals by automating the creation and distribution of custom PDF signature packets for every transaction party. It allows for electronic as well as handwritten signatures.

After working in the venture capital group at Baker Donelson, we looked for a way to do deals — in particular, closings — more efficiently.

The app integrates with DocuSign since firms are already familiar with the app for the signature. Then SimplyAgree handles the rest of the workflow. We focus on midsized and larger law firms with practice areas in corporate M&A, private equity, venture capital, commercial real estate, and commercial finance.

The application improves the realization rate for attorneys and provides a better experience for the client.

Time Miner

Comments shared by Pierce Schubert, Vice President & Secretary

Tim Miner is a mobile app that goes back and finds all of your billable calls and texts that you’ve had with your clients on your smartphone. It then takes all of that information and puts it into a detailed report sorted by client, call date, duration, billing increment, and how much that call was worth based on your hourly rate.

It allows you as an attorney to call and text with your clients as you normally would, and not worry about it until you’re ready to do your billing. No more writing down call duration on a scratch pad or trying to recall the details when it’s time to bill.

The app currently integrates with Clio, with more integrations to come.

Wait, There’s More!

Yes, there are others, but unfortunately, I didn’t get to everyone. Here’s a rundown from the ABA Journal of all 15 participants. Reach out to them, give feedback and encouragement, make introductions to your network, offer mentorship. They are our future.

  • Beagle (@BeagleInc) is a contract analysis platform that can be trained to read and understand rules and regulations.
  • Book-It Legal (@bookitlegal) helps firms hire law students to help with research, cite checking and other tasks.
  • Caliber Litigation Services (@CaliberLS) is a litigation management platform that helps attorneys manage their billing, documents and time.
  • Digitory Legal (@DigitoryLegal) helps law firms and in-house departments predict legal costs and estimate demands of an issue.
  • Evichat (@GetEvichat) is a mobile evidence collection and management company.
  • Gideon Legal (@GideonLegal) is a client intake and messaging app.
  • Lawyaw (@goLawyaw) is a document assembly tool.
  • NextChapter (@NextChapterBK) allows attorneys to prepare and file Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases on any browser or device.
  • Qualmet (@qualmetlegal) provides performance measurement technology and reporting on external legal service providers.
  • Savvy Suit (@SavvySuit) creates a pro bono catalog that helps lawyers find pro bono cases.
  • SimplyAgree (@SimplyAgree) is a closing management tool.
  • Social Evidence (@Social_Evidence) collects, analyzes and manages information from social media for evidence.
  • Time Miner (@timeminerapp) tracks billable time on your smartphone.
  • Voluble aggregates social media data for use in commercial litigation.
  • VortexLegal (@VortexLegal) is a marketplace of court reporters, interpreters, investigators and other legal services providers.

For more news coming out of ABA TECHSHOW 2018, read Sean Doherty’s “ABA TECHSHOW 2018: From First to Last Ripple.”

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Categories: Daily Dispatch, Innovation, Lawyer Apps, Legal Tech Reviews, Legal Technology
Originally published March 16, 2018
Last updated April 13, 2019
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Tim Baran

Tim Baran is Chief Marketing Officer for Good2bSocial. He writes and speaks about how to use digital marketing strategies and technology to manage and grow small firms and legal startups. Tim is the author of several publications including “The Lawyers’ Guide to Evernote,” and was named to the 2016 Fastcase 50 honoring the law’s innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders. Find him on Twitter @tim_baran.

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