Dialing up your cousin Vinny might seem like an easy way to secure legal counsel but it’s time to take internet attorneys seriously.
Online service Rocket Lawyer just raised $223 million to expand its presence in the rapidly evolving online legal services market – another digital field that surged during the pandemic.
A Legal Space Rocket
Founded in 2008, San Francisco-based Rocket Lawyer offers individuals and small businesses a slate of reasonably-priced online legal services – from estate planning to incorporation and document review.
Rocket’s 25 million registered users either pay a $40 monthly subscription fee or pay for individual documents, from a $40 simple living will to a $100 incorporation filing. As CEO Charley Moore puts it, the firm is growing at a “very nice clip,” with over 1,000 online legal docs as well as a network of on-call attorneys for consultation.
Now, with $223 million in tow from an investor group led by Vista Credit Partners, Rocket Lawyer has eyes on expansion:
- Along with its native U.S. market, the firm brought its practice to the U.K. in 2012 and then to continental Europe in 2016. The new financing will allow Rocket Lawyer to take its virtual legal services to even more countries and explore acquisitions in the industry.
Moore says the idea is to offer everyone “the kind of access to great legal counsel and tools that well-funded, venture-backed companies and rich people could get.” And with the pandemic limiting physical contact, Moore posits “the need for completely digital solutions for justice has never been more acute.”
The People’s Court
The barriers to entry in the legal profession are steep – a 3-year law degree, passing the bar exam, and owning many leather-bound books are all prerequisites. But venture capitalists are putting a lot of confidence in promising fresh-faced legal startups:
- Last year, Everlaw secured $62 million from investors including Google parent Alphabet. Billing itself as “the world’s most advanced ediscovery software,” the firm helps lawyers to sift through vast amounts of documentary evidence.
- And A.I.-powered courtroom transcription service Verbit has now raised $91 million after closing a second funding round on the heels of 400% year-over-year revenue growth.
What’s In A Name? From lending to legal services, there’s clearly something to the Rocket moniker. But as some rockets soar to the stratosphere, others are fading… For example, Houston’s basketball team is currently ranked last place in the entire NBA.