NetLaw is a law technology company that came from a need to innovate around the delivery of estate planning legal services. Attorney and CPA Jamie Hargrove had been doing estate planning with high net worth individuals for a long time, which is complex work. His son Alex joined the firm and saw a need to standardize that planning in a way that could be offered online to attorneys, financial advisors, and clients across all 50 states.
We spoke to the father and son founders of NetLaw about their platform and the value it creates for law offices.
How did NetLaw come about?
Jamie Hargrove: I headed up an estate and trust practice for a 160-person law firm for about 10 years. In 2010, I rolled out to create a national estate planning practice. I saw the need for technology that would allow us to create documents in a platform that can be deliverable across all 50 states. Because every state has its own way of doing things, that’s easier said than done.
About that time, my son Alex got out of law school and was joining my practice. He met with the team, listened to what we were visualizing and said, ‘I’ve got this.’ So he’s been building that product and I’ve continued to practice law. We’ve built a product that lets an estate planning tax lawyer automate what he or she does and deliver quality results.
NetLaw is a separate company from the law firm, right?
Alex Hargrove: Yes. NetLaw works with a national law firm that Jamie runs and I basically do the technology side of it. We basically standardized the estate planning work in a way that can be offered online to people across all the states. Law firms in a little over 30 states are now using our platform. You can access a law firm’s services online, get real legal engagement, get your estate planning done, and meet with an attorney on Zoom.
Is the platform attractive to attorneys?
Alex Hargrove: Attorneys want to be a part of this. They don’t have to do a lot of actual work themselves. They don’t have to worry about the printer not working. Our fulfillment is handled by a partnership we have that ships the documents to the client. The attorney just needs to check the box that they had the meeting and they’re done and everything else is taken care of.
What were some of the influences for this platform?
Jamie Hargrove: LegalZoom was who we followed the lead on. But LegalZoom has morphed into what looks to be like almost a law firm. It looks like you’re hiring a lawyer but they don’t have the software to facilitate online legal engagement. We do. Our product ended up winning an American Bar Association award for the best online delivery of legal services in the country.
That’s quite an acknowledgement!
Jamie Hargrove: Yes. We knew we had something special. We raised $30 million in private equity to launch NetLaw.com.
Can you describe some details of how it works?
Alex Hargrove: It’s a lot like an assembly line. We have a portal for the lawyer, a portal for the client, and one for the financial advisor. The financial advisor collects some information online to start the process, then schedules a meeting with a lawyer. The client goes home, accesses their portal, and they accept an engagement letter with the law firm. It’s all a legal engagement with the law firm. We have a sophisticated dashboard that monitors all the progress.
What are your plans going forward?
Jamie Hargrove: We want to build scale. Our target is to do 5,000 estate plans a month. Most law firms in the country only do hundreds per month. We’re going to be able to do thousands because the technology gives us the ability to scale the practice of law.