Featured Network Partners: Microsoft BizSpark

Our Network Partners share our passion for driving the success of software startups through mentoring, networking, business advice, financial assistance, and peer connections. Network Partners know the startup environment and understand what it takes to succeed.

Featured Network Partner

Company: LawPivot
Interviewee: Nitin Gupta

Q: Tell me a little about LawPivot

LawPivot is a legal Q&A website that enables companies, especially startups, to confidentially receive crowdsourced legal answers from qualified lawyers for a fraction of the cost.

Additionally, the site allows lawyers to market their legal services by sharing expert advice and engaging in discussions.

LawPivot’s Q&A technology utilizes a search algorithm to provide companies the right lawyers on LawPivot to provide answers to their specific legal questions. LawPivot eases the burden on companies in finding answers to their legal questions in an easy and affordable way.

Q. What made you want to leave the world of law and create a startup?

Being a lawyer is very exciting, in that it is fast-paced, dynamic, and intense. The legal industry can be described this way as well, however interestingly enough; it’s slow to adopt technology and is a traditional industry. The exciting part now is that the legal industry is fundamentally changing due to the changing needs of clients.

We left to create a startup since we felt there is a perfect opportunity to introduce a technological driven solution to help lawyers more efficiently address the needs of clients. It is fun speaking with lawyers and clients to find the right solution to help both parties. Ultimately, it is great to be on the cutting edge of such a new technology which is being introduced in a traditional but changing industry.

Q: What are a few of the hardest challenges you have faced as a founder?

Founders of startups face many challenges, and have to find ways to successfully overcome them. One main challenge that we faced initially was building a great team. Because we are attacking a very specific industry (the legal industry) from a technological perspective, we had to make sure that we brought on individuals who were both legally and tech savvy. Our first hire was our VP of Engineering who by far exceeded our expectations. He was formerly a lawyer, but more importantly, a successful programmer who came in at the top of his class in computer science. He had both the proper legal and technical background.

As a founder, one of your main jobs is to recruit exceptional talent. Founders often jump the gun and hire individuals who they think might be able to satisfactorily to do the job they are hiring for. However, founders must make sure that the individuals they hire are not just satisfactory, but rather exceptional.

Q: What motivates you every day?

There are many things that motivate me everyday, however one of the most important things is the opportunity to revolutionize the legal industry through our technological solution. As mentioned above, the legal industry is an interesting industry in that it’s slow to adopt technology or has not been introduced to many of the technologies that have been beneficial to other industries. There are currently only a couple of other competitors in this space. Knowing that we have the opportunity to disrupt the legal industry from a new, technological perspective is motivating unto itself.

Q: What advice would you give others considering a startup?

One piece of advice I would give others considering a startup is to make sure you believe in the idea and vision of the company. If you don’t have a passion for the idea, chances are you will not be able to give to the company what you and they need. Joining a startup takes a lot of personal sacrifice. It takes a lot of time, passion, and energy to be at a startup and if you are considering starting or joining one, be ready to make the sacrifice both on a personal level as well as a business level. What I have learned so far in my career is that the more you believe in your company and team, the more rewarding, fun, and easier it is to work the long hours you need to in order to survive in the startup world.

Q: Why should startups use LawPivot?

Startups using LawPivot primarily benefit in the following ways:

First, startups significantly reduce their legal costs. Startups are able to personally select 10 lawyers to send their question to, and receive on average 3 responses to their question. Each response is highly valuable and is coming from lawyers who on average charge $300 per hour. Startups can then follow up with each lawyer to clarify any answers.

Second, startups are easily able to find the right lawyers for their needs. It is extremely difficult to find the right lawyers, and in today’s world, it is very important to find the right lawyer since lawyers are your trusted advisors. LawPivot’s search technology finds the right 10 lawyers for your needs, and then startups are able to interact with these lawyers and see their work product and personal relationship skills before hiring them.

Lastly, startups can easily receive second opinions on legal advice. Just like in the medical industry, startups now are seeking second and even third opinions on legal advice that they have already received.

Q: What is your key differentiation from your competitors?

LawPivot has several key differentiations from its competitors. First, we have created a unique search algorithm that provides the right lawyers on LawPivot to answer a startup’s question. Our unique technology tracks all of the general usage behavior and usage trends on our site in order to properly optimize search results. Second, we vet each and every lawyer who joins LawPivot, and make sure that each lawyer is licensed. Lastly, we have created robust lawyer profiles that identify a lawyer’s credentials as well as performance on our site. This allows startups to have a great grasp of the types of lawyers they wish to ask their question to.

Q: How are the lawyers on LawPivot chosen?

We have a rigorous process of selecting lawyers to join LawPivot. After a lawyer requests an invitation, we research the actual lawyer and his/her firm, along with whether they are licensed in their state. Lawyers on LawPivot have significant experience in their practice areas, and have experience working with startups. Additionally, through our search algorithm, we can track the past responses of lawyers and make sure that startups are only dealing with the right lawyers for their needs on LawPivot.

Q: When did you first hear about the Microsoft BizSpark program and why did you decide to become a Network Partner?

We first learned about the program through Microsoft’s Sam Rosenbalm and when we heard about the concept it seemed really aligned to our vision – we’re both in the business of helping startups. We are very excited to be part of BizSpark and be a Network Partner, and we feel that many startups can benefit from both of our services!

Q: Is LawPivot offering any discount for BizSpark Startups?

LawPivot will offer all startups in Microsoft BizSpark three free questions (each question is valued at $80).

Q: How would you rate your experience with the BizSpark program?

So far, we have connected with many startups through the BizSpark program, and have appreciated the multiple resources they provide a startup.