Nextlaw Ventures, the global legal technology-focused venture capital fund, expanded its portfolio today with an investment in Hire an Esquire, a startup venture that is transforming the legal marketplace with on-demand workforce technology.
With today’s investment, Nextlaw Ventures continues to expand Dentons’ vision of innovation by developing a suite of new technologies that fundamentally change the practice of law while significantly improving client service.
The movement towards on-demand legal services is growing and will continue to shape the legal marketplace for years to come. According to a legal industry survey released this year, 56.1 percent of law firm leaders said their firms are using contract lawyers with 67.8 percent expecting an increase in contract lawyers to be a permanent trend.
Founded in 2011 in response to the rise of the on-demand workforce, Hire an Esquire is an online technology platform that automates the legal staffing process by reducing overhead and increasing market transparency. The company’s sophisticated online matchmaking service connects verified law practices and in-house legal departments with a curated, national network of attorneys for freelance, contract, or local counsel work. The all-in-one platform allows attorneys to directly communicate, track time, and approve invoices. Since its launch, the company has grown to an active network of more than 6,000 screened, vetted attorneys and clients ranging from boutique law firms to Fortune 500 and AmLaw200 firms.
Hire an Esquire marks Nextlaw Ventures’ seventh global investment in the past 18 months since Dentons launched the legal technology investor and accelerator. Hire an Esquire joins an elite group of legal technology innovators that includes Canadian developer ROSS Intelligence, which leverages IBM Watson-powered cognitive computing to refine expert legal research; UK-based Apperio, a startup focused on streamlining matter management; South African startup Libryo, a SaaS (software as a service) platform enabling users to understand legal obligations in any situation; Doxly, a US-based secure, cloud-based platform designed to simplify corporate legal transactions; Clause, a US-based data driven smart contracting platform that leverages the Internet of Things; and Qualmet, a US legal service quality metrics platform.