Legal Entrepreneurship - A Definition
Is a legal entrepreneur different than general entrepreneur? I have been thinking a lot about it recently. Is it different, or is it just the same with a little more information about the industry she is working in?
In the same way that a transactions lawyer and a litigator could effectively be in different careers, and starting-up in the agri-tech industry is closer to agriculture than it is to an ed-tech start-up - legal entrepreneurship is a category all its own…. I think.
If it is different to be a legal entrepreneur, as compared to a general entrepreneur, what portion of the entrepreneur lore applies and doesn’t apply? Does there need to be new legal entrepreneur lore, specifically for the struggle of innovating the legal industry and legal practice? Which of the tips, tricks and hacks that come flooding onto Medium and twitter every day make sense for legal entrepreneurship and which do not?
In short - I don’t know yet. But I intend to find out. Spoiler alert: I am not going to find out in this post, but over many posts to come.
In this post, like every lawyer, I want to start with a definition.
So here goes: A legal entrepreneur is someone innovating the delivery of legal services or legal process by starting their own business to play out their theory. Ravel does this by changing the way you can synthesize legal information. Radvocate does this by changing the way that transaction cost is stripped out of consumer cases, reviving mass justice in the post-Concepcion era. Mark A. Cohen has an interesting take on what it has meant to be a legal entrepreneur for the last half century. The summary of his view is that a legal entrepreneur is just someone who has innovated legal practice and/or legal services. I think Cohen’s definition needs a little more emphasis on the starting a business part, but it is close.
A legal entrepreneur differs from a general entrepreneur because a legal entrepreneur, by her very definition, is affected by different forces than a general entrepreneur. She is trying to change a regulated industry, steeped in history and old fogies with old fogy views. It’s true that she has the same core roles and experiences as a general entrepreneur, but like lots of things, her role is won or lost in the details.
Do you think there is a distinction?
Do you think there should be more info about how to be a successful legal entrepreneur?