The stock market is taking a beating right now. Which is a little weird since inflation appears driven by the fact that gas prices are through the roof as a combination of Putin continuing to pursue a war in Ukraine that’s shut off his oil exports and OPEC twiddling its thumbs for months, pushing the cost of everything higher. We’re probably going to watch the Fed trigger a recession for something that interest rates can’t really fix. But whatever.
At least some folks still see exciting investment opportunities out there. And it’s all about legal tech.
The LegalTech Fund, the first and only fund focused exclusively in this space just announced that it pulled in $28.5 million to invest in startups serving the legal industry. This surpasses its original $25 million goal with contributions from different corners of the legal tech-curious world including Kapor Center Investments, McDermott Will & Emery, Orrick, DocuSign, and Carta.
The fund has invested in 30 companies so far with an initial investment of around $1 million.
LegalTech Fund general partner and co-founder Zach Posner said:
The LegalTech Fund invests in companies transforming the world of law. We are seeing the legal industry intersecting with financial, regulatory, consumer, privacy and technology, meaning that legal is a crucial pivot point for many businesses and individuals. Our early success stories have shown us that legal tech has tailwinds that accelerate even in poor economic times, and during a global pandemic. We are excited about our investors and the companies we are supporting, realizing our vision of creating a vibrant community of legal tech growth and innovation.
That makes sense. Poor economic times don’t necessarily hurt law firms as much as they force a reconfiguration of revenue streams. Firms may have the wrong mix of resources between transactional and litigation and bankruptcy — which definitely harms individual lawyers and staff — but one way or another clients are still going to hire some lawyers.
A legal tech provider with general applicability to the industry will do just fine. One that targets an ascendant practice area will also do fine. And for that matter, one that helps a lagging practice do more with less can also thrive in bad economic times. From the tech perspective, there’s still upside in bad times.
And, most importantly, legal tech isn’t really an industry that swings on petroleum prices.
Hopefully we look back in a few months on the “Russian Bear Market” as an economic speed bump, but whatever happens, the legal tech industry looks like one of the better investments out there right now.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.