The disruption of the legal industry is found most prominently within the gaps.
The big-shot criminal defense attorney doesn’t wake up in a cold sweat for fear his industry is collapsing at the hands of a tech start-up. Where technology makes its biggest impact on the profession is in the world of legal documents and contract formation. RocketLawyer, LegalZoom, DocuSign and EchoSign are a few of the California-based technology companies that are thriving in a space that wasn’t considered big business by BigLaw, but in the aggregate has proven to be a sizable opportunity (EchoSign (acquired by Adobe) projected to reach $100,000,000 in Annual Recurring Revenue for 2013).
But wait, there’s more.
To learn more about Shake, I caught up with its founder and CEO, Abe Geiger (h/t to Jonathan Goldsmith), and asked him a few questions about his business and his goals for Shake in 2014.
Shake was created around the basic idea that any deal worth shaking hands on is worth getting in writing. Our team of founders saw a clear need for a platform that would give freelancers, small businesses and consumers the ability to legally protect themselves using technology they already had access to. Beyond just making the law accessible, we also wanted to create contract templates that were easy to understand. Coming from a startup and freelance background myself, I’ve encountered so many contracts that were needlessly confusing and wordy. Shake’s templates are simple and concise without sacrificing legal validity. Attorneys have meticulously drafted our templates so that consumers can feel comfortable with and confident in the agreements they create using Shake.
Our mission at Shake is to make the law accessible, affordable and understandable for everyone. Right off the bat, we’re different from other legal companies who are trying to achieve similar goals because we give users the ability to create their own content using templates we provide. We’re optimized for mobile so our templates are accessible everywhere. Beyond providing templates that can be utilized on-the-go, Shake also takes the guesswork out of simple legal documents. Our users are able to create agreements easily because our templates are written in common language used by real people in everyday life. Taking unnecessarily complicated language out of agreements creates a more harmonious experience for everyone.
Do you intend to partner with legal document providers like LegalZoom or RocketLawyer where small businesses are already building thousands of legal documents everyday?
While we don’t have plans to partner with other legal companies, we do plan on continuing to develop our own templates to enhance our overall user experience, specifically to help small businesses get deals done faster and with more confidence. We get a lot of great feedback from our users and we’re looking at many different ways to expand upon our existing templates and ideas. We’re particularly excited about moving to the web and to Android platforms next year. The more platforms we exist on, the more consumers will be able to use Shake everywhere they go.
We’re really excited to play a role in the technology revolution happening in the legal industry. Shake has absolutely no intention of trying to replace lawyers. In fact we think Shake will serve as a great tool that lawyers themselves can use to help their clients with their basic drafting needs. Like every other industry, the legal world is going to need to adapt to a more mobile and technology centric approach to business. More and more consumers are doing business on their smartphones and tablets. Meanwhile clients are demanding greater efficiency and transparency from their lawyers. As a non-lawyer I have felt the pain of a small business trying to get deals done quic
kly and cheaply, but I have also seen the ramifications of not getting a good contract in place. I think the next wave of evolution in the business of law will be much more consumer and client driven. Technology will enable transparency, efficiency, and access across the entire industry starting with consumer legal and working its way up to big law. Technology won’t replacing lawyers, but it will help them work smarter, spend more time on more complex matters, and hold them accountable to their clients.
We’re excited for a very eventful 2014. We’re expanding onto the web and Android to give more consumers, freelancers and small businesses access to Shake. Launching Shake on the web will give us the ability to reach everyone, not just iOS users, and we’re really excited about that. We’re also planning to enhance the product with premium features that will make contracts even smarter. Many of our users have let us know that Shake is a vital part of their daily business practices. We’re thrilled to not only make the Shake experience better for our existing users, but to introduce ourselves to a lot more small businesses, freelancers, and consumers in 2014.