Startups

UpCounsel Raises A $12M Series B To Connect Lawyers With Businesses

UpCounsel, a marketplace for legal services, has raised a $12 million Series B round according to a new filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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UpCounsel previously raised a total of $14 million since its inception in 2012. This latest round brings its aggregate funding to $26 million. Most recently, the San Francisco-based startup raised a $10 million Series A round that closed in July 2015. Menlo Ventures, Compound, Homebrew, and BluePoint Ventures participated in the round.

It is not clear from the SEC filing who participated in UpCounsel’s latest round, although the filing indicates there were 12 investors who were a part of its Series B. At the time of writing, UpCounsel had not responded to Crunchbase News’s request for comment.

Small and large enterprises use UpCounsel to supplement or replace large law firms or traditional service providers. The UpCounsel community is made up of part-time, solo, and boutique attorneys who hail from global law firms and graduated from top law schools. Customers include Twilio, Charming Charlie, and investor Menlo Ventures.

Gyi Tsakalakis, founder of legal web strategy consultancy AttorneySync, believes that UpCounsel makes a lot of sense from the perspective of business legal services consumers.

“They take a lot of the pain out of the lawyer search process,” Tsakalakis told Crunchbase News.

However, Tsakalakis is skeptical of the startup asking clients to review their attorney upon completion of a project.

“I’ve always thought that these sites face something of an identity crisis, namely, is their primary function to serve legal services consumers (i.e., their users) or their lawyers?” he said. “Needless to say, these interests aren’t always aligned…. If consumers lose trust in the integrity of a platform, they’re more likely to fall back on traditional notions of getting referrals from people they know, like, and trust—which they should still be doing anyway.”

It is a similar problem that Avvo, another online legal marketplace, had, according to Tsakalakis.

“Rating lawyers is really hard. It’s not like rating a restaurant,” he said. “I have yet to see a lawyer rating site that does a good job of matching based on qualitative data.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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