Florida-based Jet.Law and CaseGuide Inc. become the latest legal service providers to receive an investment from startup accelerator Y Combinator, with the company revealing it received $150,000 in exchange for a 7 percent stake in CaseGuide.
Jet.Law is a law firm that leverages technology created by tech company CaseGuide to predict a case’s expected workload, information which is then is used to compute the client’s fixed monthly bill.
Kyle Harris, an engineer and Jet.Law co-founder and CaseGuide CEO, noted the firm uses a “web scraper” to automatically email lawyers updates to court records concerning a client’s matter. In turn, an email listing the updates is automatically created and sent to the client.
Automatic updates and automated emails are ways to keep clients aware of their legal matter’s progression and prevent any “mystery bills” for clients, Harris noted.
“The nice thing about doing this our way is we get to have a law firm that has a different economic incentive than other law firms,” Harris said. “We are really motivated to make new tech and use what’s out there to make the practice of law as efficient as possible.”
This efficiency is essential, as Jet.Law’s sole attorney is Jet.law co-founder, CaseGuide CFO and former Jackson Lewis associate Jesse Unruh. Unruh said CaseGuide is concentrating on developing technology that will allow him to manage 20-30 cases on an ongoing basis as clients hire Jet.Law. He added that the firm will add attorneys as needed.
The firm’s focus is defending small and midsize companies in employee litigation, a practice Unruh honed during a judicial clerkship and while working at other firms.
Last September, when Jet.Law and CaseGuide were only an idea shared by Unruh and Harris, they submitted an application for investment from Y Combinator. Harris said they were motivated not by Y Combinator’s previous legal tech investments, but by what the accelerator wanted: good ideas, even from those without industry contacts.
By October, Harris and Unruh, and other startups, were invited to spend three months at Y Combinator’s California office. During that time, which is described as a “Funding Cycle” by the company, startups are connected to potential investors and advisers, and participate in a Demo Day where they pitch their company.
In 2018, Legaltech News reported five legal-specific companies pitched their ideas at last March’s Demo Day.
Harris and Unruh join a growing list of legal tech companies that are finding eager investors. For example, legal management software provider Onit received $200 million earlier this year from private investors. Law firms have also invested in legal tech solutions, with U.K. law firm Slaughter and May participating in a $10 million funding round for artificial intelligence-backed contract review platform Luminance.