Silicon Valley-backed Atrium is a different kind of law firm — a dual entity that is part law practice and part legal technology company. The goal is to provide corporate clients with a more efficient and transparent alternative to traditional large firms, with Atrium’s lawyers focusing exclusively on practicing law, while a second entity, Atrium LTS, handles all operations for the firm, even including marketing, and develops and operates software to streamline the firm’s workflows.
Atrium was launched in 2017 by Justin Kan, a serial entrepreneur who sold the Twitch video platform he created to Amazon for $970 million, and Augie Rakow, a former partner representing startups at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, to address Kan’s own frustrations as a client with how legal services are delivered. Atrium raised an initial $10.5 million in funding in 2017 and then another $65 million last September in round led by prominent venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
On this episode of LawNext, cofounder Rakow, now chair of Atrium, sits down with me in his San Francisco office for a frank and informative discussion. Rakow discusses the origins and structure of Atrium, the firm’s progress so far in achieving its goals, Atrium’s blueprint for future development, and the obstacles and challenges it has faced. They also discuss how Atrium differs from Clearspire, an earlier attempt at a dual-entity model.
Rakow attended Harvard Divinity School before discovering an interest in law and attending UC Hastings College of the Law. He joined Orrick as a corporate associate, later becoming partner. He specialized in representing startups in the Bay Area, where his clients included the driverless car industry’s first “unicorn” startup, the world’s then fastest-growing SaaS company, the first venture-backed consumer drone company, the leading Sand Hill-backed consumer packaged goods company, and several of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture funds.
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