Two years ago this week, I reported on the launch of Evolve Law, a for-profit membership organization aimed at driving technology innovation and adoption in the legal industry. Cofounders Jules Miller and Mary Juetten told me at the time that they hoped to attract innovative, early-stage companies as members and encourage collaboration among them to help drive adoption of new technologies.
Two years later and with more than 120 members, Evolve Law is entering a new phase. In August, Evolve Law and Above the Law announced that they have formed a strategic partnership that will allow Evolve Law to expand its visibility and offerings.
Starting in late 2017, Evolve Law’s Legal Toolkit, podcast, and content will appear on ATL’s pages and social channels. Members will have opportunities to publish directly onto Above the Law, and gain recognition and insight from ATL’s expert columnists and 1.3 million reader audience.
Recently, I spoke with cofounder Juetten to get more details about the partnership. Juetten, who is founder and CEO of Traklight, will continue her involvement in Evolve Law. Cofounder Miller is no longer involved.
[Disclosure: I am a columnist on Above the Law and Above the Law’s parent company, Breaking Media, sells advertising on my blog.]
A key feature of the partnership will be the launch on Above the Law (ATL) of the Legal Innovation Center. Similar in concept to ATL’s Small Firm Center, this will feature posts from ATL columnists and contributors related to the topic of innovation. In addition, Evolve Law members will have the opportunity to publish their own posts in a section called Member Perspectives, as well as to submit content to be published elsewhere on ATL.
“For members, this is a big step up – a giant leap really – in terms of visibility,” Juetten said. “All of the members will go over to ATL and be part of the Innovation Center. You can’t quantify the difference in reach and visibility.”
Evolve Law has become known for hosting events around the country — more than 50 to date — to bring together its members and others interested in emerging legal technology. These will continue to be held throughout the year.
An another way of promoting collaboration and communication among Evolve Law members, this new partnership has created a private Slack channel for members. In addition to allowing members to communicate with each other, the channel will allow them to interact with ATL staff.
Other changes that will result from this partnership:
- ATL will expand Evolve Law’s Legal Tech Toolkit, a directory of legal technology products and services.
- ATL will publish quarterly research reports exclusively for Evolve Law members. Members will be able to help shape these surveys through the Slack channel.
With these changes will come new rates for membership in Evolve Law. The new rates will take effect on Oct. 2, but any current members (including any that sign up before Oct. 2) will be grandfathered at their current rate for the remainder of their term.
A chart of the new membership rates and what they include can be found here. The lowest-cost membership category, for emerging companies that are self or angel funded, will rise from $500 to $750 a year. For companies with Series A or greater funding rounds, annual membership will increase from $1,500 to $2,500.
There will also be new corporate and law firm membership categories, at $5,000 and $2,500 respectively, and a strategic partner category for $15,000. Law schools will be able to join for free.
While Juetten said she is excited about the greater visibility her members will get through this partnership, she said that the greatest value of Evolve Law isn’t about clicks, but about community.
“The real value for our members isn’t quantitative, but qualitative,” she said. “The communities that have been established allow people to reach out to a community on legal innovation where there was no community before.”
Networking through Evolve Law has led to strategic partnerships among members and introductions to investors, Juetten said. It also resulted in one acquisition, by Boston-based FoundationLab a digital product design studio, of Functional Imperative, an application development company in Toronto, Canada.
“I think it works,” Juetten said. “It was really important for me that we find a good home for what we built.”