Finding the right legal help has been a perennial problem for legal clients, but former Clio executive Daniel Steinberg has raised funds to launch a legaltech firm to handle that problem online.
Lawbrokr has raised $785,000 CAD to get its legal marketplace platform in place much as a dating app might.
Lawbrokr closed its pre-seed round last fall, shortly after it was founded, to support the development of the company’s software. Since then, Lawbrokr raised its seed capital last fall and has been focused on building out its product and marketplace of lawyers, which it is launching initially in its Toronto home-base.
Apart from Canadian venture capital investors an undisclosed group of partners from one of Toronto’s “Seven Sisters” law firms—which includes Blakes, Davies, Goodmans, McCarthy, Osler, Stikeman, and Torys—also invested in Lawbrokr as part of the round.
Bryker Capital Managing Partner Bryan Kerdman described Lawbrokr as “akin to a legal marketplace dating app.” The company’s web-based offering serves as a “recommendation platform,” matching potential clients to suitable lawyers through its algorithm and enabling them to communicate through it to determine whether they are the right fit for one another.
Since Lawbrokr is not a law firm, Steinberg, Lawbrokr’s CEO, said it can’t take commissions or connection fees, but the company is to used a subscription model which it is working on to determine the precise costings.
“The idea there is it’s a low-cost barrier to entry to try and drive new and efficient ways to find new consumers or new demand to your law practice,” said Steinberg.
Lawbrokr has launched with lawyers in five specialties—wills and estates, real estate, immigration, personal injury, and employment—and plans to expand into new types of law as it grows.
The startup’s goal is to simplify access to legal services. According to Steinberg, this problem is twofold: from a legal standpoint, it is difficult for small firms and solo practitioners to stand out, and from a consumer standpoint, it is tough to determine who the right legal representation is and why.
Prior to launching Lawbrokr, Steinberg sold enterprise software tools, before moving to Clio where he spent over two years working as manager of channel partnerships and then senior manager of channel and app partnerships, helping lawyers and law firms digitize their storefronts.
Steinberg left Clio in October 2021 to focus fully on Lawbrokr, where he aims to leverage his legaltech and enterprise software experience in building his own startup. To do so, the CEO teamed up with co-founder and CTO Dimitrios James Ziavras, an experienced software engineer and developer who Steinberg said has been “in a lot of businesses from the ground up.”
According to Steinberg, there is “a lot of noise” in the legaltech sector, which he said is a good thing because “competition breeds a market,” the former Clio executive told Betakit.
From a tech perspective, Lawbrokr wants to “enhance and be an add-on” for law firms, serving as a “complementary” solution that helps lawyers to find new business, but does not control the way they operate or intake clients. To achieve this goal, the startup plans to evaluate various integrations as it grows.
AlayaCare co-founder Grunberg told BetaKit that Lawbrokr “checks every box” for him from an investment standpoint, adding that he was particularly impressed by Steinberg’s “hunger, intelligence, and talent.” He cited Steinberg’s willingness to drive 30 minutes to Grunberg’s house for a 6:30 am walking meeting just to obtain some advice last summer.
Following its Toronto launch, Lawbrokr intends to branch out into other markets, using its remaining funding to support these efforts and its further product development plans.
“The market is big enough just in Canada to justify our investment in Lawbrokr, but this goes far beyond Canada [and] even North America,” Kerdman told BetaKit. “Finding qualified and relevant legal help is a universal problem. Finding new clients in a directed fashion is something lawyers have been asking for.”