A Golden startup is looking to connect smaller businesses with attorneys and help promote women and minority attorneys in the process.
LexDock, started by Abeer Abu Judeh, an attorney with a range of public, private and in-house legal experience, is a cloud-based platform for businesses to manage their legal affairs in one place and find attorneys to do the work.
The idea for LexDock came from Abu Judeh’s own experience as an in-house attorney, where she found she was spending a lot of time bouncing from one platform to another to handle documents and communications with other attorneys.
“The way I was dealing with outside counsel while in house, it became clear what we were doing was really antiquated,” Abu Judeh said. “I was managing legal affairs from an email system. If I had a question, I’d scroll through emails.” She said she was managing multiple legal matters for the business through email. And that was at a Fortune 500 company.
“We had a large budget and still couldn’t find technology to help with that. What do small- and medium-sized companies do?”
Well, ideally for Abu Judeh, they would now turn to her.
She said those target companies typically juggle multiple pieces of software that weren’t communicating with each other. Officers in a business might have separate areas with similar legal issues, sometimes conflicting with each other. And any calls made to an attorney to ask questions run up the legal bill.
LexDock’s marketplace concept keeps all of a business’ legal affairs, like governance documents and supply chain agreements, online in a format that non-lawyers can organize and access. The software is run on LexDock’s servers, which prevents businesses from having to spend more on technology, and the program includes a messaging board to communicate with outside counsel.
Regarding that outside counsel, LexDock also has a pool of attorneys that are vetted and working on a pre-negotiated rate. Abu Judeh said LexDock makes sure the attorneys are licensed in the state in which they’re working and that they carry malpractice insurance.
LexDock also assigns the attorneys to particular matters, so businesses don’t deal with hiring attorneys. She said that helps get attorneys working on matters quickly and efficiently and also hopes that helps improve diversity within the legal profession.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done in my career, but I understand my profession, like every other, has improvements to make. I’m hoping to help,” she said. “My hope and mission is to help ameliorate the problem.”
The marketplace allows businesses to rate their attorneys with the idea that attorneys who do good work get more work.
While other software like LegalZoom or RocketLawyer also provide document help or advising, Abu Judeh said LexDock has a different focus. LexDock is a “legal affairs management system” first and a hub to connect with attorneys second, she said.
“Unlike LegalZoom or Rocket lawyer we do not have ‘forms’ to push or random referrals of attorneys,” Abu Judeh said.
LexDock is designed so non-attorneys can organize and manage their business’ legal affairs themselves, she said. The attorneys are “an added convenience.”
“To have this type of access to counsel with a big law firm, a business would have to pay a monthly retainer. That is additional savings.”
Abu Judeh said security is one of her top concerns for the cloud-based platform. She said using the cloud-based platform helps lower IT costs and requirements for businesses, and in order to keep it secure, LexDock is keeping its servers in the U.S. and has stress-tested the platform to make sure it can resist hacking attempts. “We have more dollars in back-end security than actual software,” she said.
LexDock launched Aug. 1 and in the past week has already grown its pool of attorneys. The startup also announced Aug. 7 that it is partnering with nonprofit Free the Girls to help the organization with its internal affairs management.
— Tony Flesor