Law Practice Today introduces “New Law,” a column profiling innovators in the legal industry whose projects or ideas have already changed the way law is practiced and who continue to seek ways to improve the profession. These trailblazers will answer questions on topics that keep our readers awake at night as they plan how to develop their practices in a rapidly changing world. Our goal in spotlighting these thought leaders is to help our readers predict the future of law and become first adopters of visionary ideas and techniques that will set them apart from their competitors.
Matt Faustman is the co-founder and CEO of UpCounsel, the fastest-growing online workplace, where businesses can easily hire trusted business lawyers, corporate lawyers, patent lawyers and many other types of legal professionals. Matt is responsible for the company’s business strategy and legal community. Before UpCounsel, Matt worked as a startup attorney in Silicon Valley, helping consumer and enterprise internet companies get started and grow.
What projects or ideas have you been focusing on recently?
Over the past year at UpCounsel, we have found a great fit with large companies, on top of our traditional SMB customers, where we’re working with the COOs, CFOs, and general counsels. This is a great opportunity for us to work on longer and larger projects; however, this means we need to slightly adjust to fit this type of clientele, since the volume of work and demand for lawyers is much higher. We’ve made changes to our algorithms, workflows, and attorney community to make sure the interaction between our software and the lawyer continued to deliver a great result.
What could lawyers look at in a new way that would benefit their clients and society?
How a lawyer runs their office. Lawyers should look at running their office in a non-traditional way such as – look to a co-working space or re-evaluate the use of their current workspace, use technology and software that will make your workplace more efficient, such as using a platform that assists with invoices and bills. All of these things can help eliminate the overhead costs and will make the ‘lawyer of tomorrow’ more efficient, productive and less expensive for clients.
What one thing about the practice of law would you change if you could?
I would update the ancient rules regulating the practice of law to better appreciate modern technology and practices. Technology has moved lawyers and law firms forward, and it would help if the rest of the industry could follow.
What is the most exciting development you have seen recently in the practice of law?
The most exciting development I’ve seen is actually on the client side. Clients, small and large, are moving away from traditional law firms and looking for more cost-effective solutions at what seems like a faster pace. This ultimately puts more dollars in play for innovation and helps to kill off incumbents unwilling to adopt – capitalism at its best.
What technologies, business models, and trends do you think will have the biggest impact on the practice of law over the next two years?
The freelance economy will have the biggest impact on the practice of law because it’s changing the way companies seek out legal counsel to how lawyers seek employment and clients.
What’s the best new law practice idea you have heard recently?
Right now the best new law practice is anything that’s helping the cash flow of independent contractors. There are platforms and services in place that guarantee payment for the freelance economy, which reduces uncertainty and drives motivation for people to be a part of this freelance economy.
About the Author
Nicholas Gaffney is the director of Infinite PR in San Francisco, and is a member of the Law Practice Today Editorial Board.