Similar to other industries embracing contract work, Lawtrades is giving legal professionals a way to become independent and run their own virtual law practices.
Raad Ahmed and Ashish Walia started the company in 2016 with an initial focus on startups and small businesses, trying to find product-market fit (as one does), but finding that legal usage among companies of that size was often project-based, infrequent and short-term if the company folds.
In 2019, the company pivoted to working with mid-market and enterprise-level companies by selling into legal departments, and that’s when growth took off, Ahmed told Nitikesh.
Today, Lawtrades works with companies, like Doordash, Gusto and Pinterest, to offer them a marketplace of professionals that can be hired remotely and with flexibility. Its technology enables professionals and companies to create profiles and be matched to opportunities, monitor projects and pay through the platform.
“Ultimately, it is a new internet-native work model that we are starting with legal because it is a $100 billion market that has not been disrupted much in the last 100 years,” Ahmed said.
He and Walia wanted to build a different hiring experience from the likes of LinkedIn, where companies would have to weed through hundreds of applicants to find the qualified few. Professionals are also able to provide a flat pricing structure, unlike law firms which have overhead and other firm costs that are typically factored into billable hours.
Following the doubling of revenue in 2021, it closed on a $6 million Series A round, led by Four Cities Capital, with participation from Draper Associates and 500 Startups. The round also included nearly 100 customers, angel investors and company founders, including Gumroad founder Sahil Lavingia, Teachable’s Ankur Nagpal and GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani.
“Due to the world finally embracing remote legal work and more lawyers leaving big law firms to work for themselves, we’re cash flow positive and leveraging revenue-based financing, so we didn’t have to do a big dilutive equity raise,” Ahmed said.
At the end of 2021, Lawtrades had 80 customers on the platform and 150 active engagements. On the talent side, there are over 1,000 profiles, up from 400 made by the end of 2020. Currently, it is running on an invite-only model, and 5% are accepted into the network. The makeup of the network is 60% women and over 35% are minorities.
In December, the company’s revenue run rate was $8 million, up from $3 million at the beginning of 2021, Ahmed added. More than $11 million was earned on the platform to date by the network and over 60,000 hours of work was logged on the platform in 2021, a 200% boost from 2020.
Ahmed plans to use the new funding to rebrand the company, launch an iOS app, expand into other professional categories, like finance and management consulting, and gain an international footprint. He also intends to double Lawtrades’ current headcount from 15 to 30 across product, support and sales.
“The world of work is in a unique position,” he added. “People are working remotely and companies are looking for talent, so it is an all-out talent war with the best people getting the best offers. With our model, the power is in the individual to pick the kind of work they want to do. That’s how we are able to attract amazing talent and then be able to get companies that want to hire them. We are iterating on and pushing the boundaries of the 40-hour work week.”