The Five Most Momentous Legal Tech Fails

Although the last several years have introduced an abundance of new and impressive legal tech solutions to sector, the reality of the make any difference is that not every new merchandise will thrive. Inevitably, for whatever reason, some products and solutions fail. But 1 factor for selected is that whilst some products shut down with a whimper, others go out with a bang.

Let us revisit five of the most momentous lawful tech fails of the previous 10 a long time.

1. Atrium.

It launched in 2017 to wonderful fanfare, promising to “revolutionize lawful services” through its dual-entity model of equally a regulation business and a technological innovation business. Its founder, Justin Kan, was a Silicon Valley wunderkind who experienced beforehand founded Twitch and then offered it to Amazon for $970 million. It arrived out of the gate with $10 million in funding, and then a year afterwards raised a whopping $65 million more from some of the major names in undertaking funds.

When it released, I questioned in an Above the Regulation column no matter whether it was a case of Clearspire déjà vu, recalling the demise of the strikingly identical twin-entity company Clearspire, which opened in 2010 and shut down four a long time afterwards. But these who neglect the past are doomed to repeat it, they say, and in just a few decades, Atrium shut down, after to start with striving to pivot to a distinct organization design. “Things didn’t perform out as prepared,” Kan wrote on Twitter, “and that is my responsibility.”

2. QuickLegal.

In 2016, lawful tech entrepreneur Derek Bluford was riding significant. Just 28 many years old, he had gained accolades as an entrepreneur, initially commencing California Lawful Execs, a corporation that marketed various authorized services to equally shoppers and legal professionals, then QuickLegal, a company that delivered on-desire lawful assistance to individuals, and then QuickLegal Follow Management, a cloud follow administration platform for attorneys. He experienced even been picked to look on the well-liked ABC tv show Shark Tank, and, when I first wrote about him, he was slated to be a highlighted speaker at a important lawful tech conference two months afterwards.

But that all arrived crashing down soon after I noted in 2016 of Bluford’s settlement of a lawsuit charging him with impersonating a law firm, forging lawful paperwork and fraudulently swindling two consumers. Subsequent my report, QuickLegal quickly shut down. Later it appeared to be reincarnated in another similar startup referred to as LawTova. Just after I wrote about that business, it far too shut down. I then wrote about yet yet another startup that had ties to Bluford and QuickLegal, and which also then shut down.

If you believe that was the stop of Bluford, think once more. In 2020, Bluford published a book in which he claimed to have grow to be an FBI informant helping in a political corruption investigation into the former mayor of Sacramento, Calif., Kevin Johnson, who was also a former star with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Then, in 2021, he was sentenced to 7 decades in prison on charges associated to the fraud and forgeries I’d published about in 2016. (You can locate my whole series of posts about Bluford here.)

3. ROSS Intelligence.

ROSS was forward of its time in striving to use artificial intelligence to empower lawful research. It started off in 2014 at the College of Toronto as a scholar-constructed entrant in a cognitive-computing levels of competition staged by IBM to develop purposes for its Watson laptop or computer. It promptly obtained momentum and global awareness, drawing major traders, including Denton’s NextLaw Labs, and its founders were invited to take part in the prestigious Y-Combinator startup incubator. In 2017, Forbes named the three founders to its “30 Beneath 30.” In 2019, I frequented ROSS’s Toronto investigate and advancement workplace, just after which I wrote a lengthy publish about what I saw and figured out, as properly as about the company’s historical past and its opportunity future.

But the outlook for ROSS changed pretty much right away when it was sued by Thomson Reuters in 2020 on allegations that it surreptitiously stole content from Westlaw to make its own competing lawful study item. Although ROSS vehemently denied the allegations, the lawsuit crippled its skill to raise new funding or check out probable acquisition options. In December 2020, it declared that it was shutting down. Nonetheless even while the corporation is no for a longer period operating, it proceeds to battle the lawsuit, with its protection and counterclaims funded by coverage coverage. As of this creating, the lawsuit is ongoing.

4. LexisNexis Firm Manager.

The year 2008 observed the launches of the 1st two cloud-based mostly regulation observe management platforms, Clio and Rocket Issue, adopted in 2009 by the launch of MyCase. In the years that followed, a quantity of equivalent products and solutions arrived to sector, such as PracticePanther, Zola Suite (now CARET Lawful), and CosmoLex. In 2011, LexisNexis leapt on to this bandwagon with its launch of Agency Manager, a web-primarily based practice management system intended for smaller law corporations.

Sad to say, the product or service bought off to a rocky start off, with major overall performance concerns, and it had difficulty getting traction in what was rapid turning out to be a crowded sector. It afterwards went back again to the drawing board and rebuilt the products pretty much from the ground up, releasing the retooled model in 2016 as Business Supervisor 2.. But by then, the nailing of the coffin may well presently have commenced. By January 2017, LexisNexis explained it was discontinuing profits of Organization Supervisor, and, later on that 12 months, it shut it down fully.

5. Gavelytics.

When the litigation analytics enterprise Gavelytics shut down in 2022, it was a shock to almost most people but the founder. The enterprise had been found as a person of the leaders in the rapidly-expanding area of litigation analytics, and considering the fact that its founding in California in 2017, it experienced drastically expanded the scope of its product or service and elevated $5.7 million in funding. Therefore, it was a dramatic switch of functions when, on June 29, 2022, founder and CEO Rick Merrill notified consumers and workforce that the enterprise would close its doorways the upcoming day.

There is, even so, a considerably happy ending to the story of Gavelytics. Six months soon after it shut down, yet another litigation analytics startup, Pre/Dicta, acquired the Gavelytics platform and its accumulated courtroom data, and introduced on Merrill as a strategic advisor.


Bob Ambrogi is a law firm and journalist who has been creating and talking about legal technologies and innovation for additional than two many years. He writes the award-profitable site LawSites, is a columnist for Over the Legislation, hosts the podcast about authorized innovation, LawNext, and hosts the weekly authorized tech journalists’ roundtable, Legaltech 7 days. He is also cofounder of the LawNext Authorized Technological know-how Listing.