Alt.legal: I Bet You Haven’t Heard This One Prior To

October 20, 2014 Nemes Legal

It’s the one about the tech-illiterate Biglaw partner (I know, you have actually heard that one) who strollsbows out her appealing career at one of the most distinguished law companies in the country … to create a brand-new category of software application … for litigating! A magical software application program that makes you better as a litigator and is so cool that you wish you thought of it yourself.

For this next profile in legal entrepreneurship, I’m excited to introduce Alma Asay, creator of Allegory. You might not have actually heard of Allegory yet, but pretty quickly, it will certainly be a home name for every litigator who really wants to be at the top of their video game.

Alma’s story has an unique place in my heart since she is living my dream: bringing her success in Biglaw to the entire legal neighborhood with the marvels of innovation. I met Alma earlier this year in Palo Alto, where she was welcoming her inner Silicon Valley and I was speaking at Stanford Law’s outstanding CodeX FutureLaw conference. We chatted over cocktails about the legal industry, law firm shenanigans, and life after Biglaw for those people who didn’t run away howling. I liked her stories of adventures in legal startup, and her product. Ideally, you will too.

(Did I mention I get paid by the click? I’m joking, but really, keep reading … this is an excellent one).

Alma’s Legal Entrepreneurship Story

Alma is the type of prodigy whomakes Biglaw salivate. She graduated secondary school in 3 years; graduated college, Phi Beta Kappa, in another three; finished NYU Law by age 22; proved herself a rising star in Gibson Dunn’s white-hot litigation group; and had amassed a star litigator as a Sensei, who was actively assisting her towards collaboration. In fact, based on these truths alone, if I hadn’t satisfied her and didn’t know what followed, she quickly would have a renowned area on my ever-growing People-To-Hate list.

When she began at Gibson Dunn in 2005, Alma had simply turned 23 and was as clueless as every young first-year associate (aside from being well versed in all-you-can beverage benders and endless steak lunches, requirement in pre-recession summer programs). However, unlike numerous young lawyers making the rough shift from summertime to actual partner, Alma “loved practicing law,” seeing “every case as a puzzle to be resolved” (further proof of P-T-H status). She even confessed to me happily that she was among those nerds who thoughted the logic puzzles on the LSAT were fun.

Over the next couple of years, Gibson Dunn’s litigation department sizzled, winning prominent cases and making distinguished awards, such as the American Legal representative’s Litigation Department of the Year (an unmatched two times in a row). Among Gibson Dunn’s stars was (and is) the Deadliest Legal representative in Tech, Orin Snyder — — regularly ranked as one of the leading trial litigators in the nation, a go-to legal representative for big business such as Facebook and Starbucks and stars such as Bob Dylan and Jerry Seinfeld.

Two months into the job, Alma got her first chance to deal with Orin on a high-stakes trade keys matter for IAC/InterActiveCorp. She vividly recalls one of their very first conferences when Orin asked to see “every document in the case … not simply the ‘hot’ documents … every document. Alma didn’t attempt say no, however her gut impulse informed her that haulingtaking a war-room-full of binders would be a bad idea. Rather, Alma considered what Orin actually desired and put together a custom Excel spreadsheet, typing out vital proof, tracking and discussing every possibly appropriate document in the case. Orin and the customers were happy; all of a sudden, they had the whole case at their fingertips. Eventually, that group accomplished the impossible over 100 trade secret claims dismissed on summary judgment — — a triumph in big part owed to an astonishing proficiency of the complex facts.

Alma became Orin’s go-to associate on complex matters, consisting of cases for the similarity NBC Universal, Cablevision, and AMC Networks. Orin and Alma’s teams (consisting of a vital and incredibly well-dressed paralegal, Corey Barnes, whom Alma insisted I point out here) made it their company to remain on top of not just the law, however all the evidence (even as it was being swiftly developed from one deposition to another), providing themselves a benefit over enemies bogged down by antiquated and bit-by-bit procedures. As far as I can tell, it worked … Gibson Dunn won each of the cases they handled.

As brand-new junior associates came asking Alma for suggestions, she carried, and mangled, a quote by hockey fantastic Wayne Gretzky, telling them to “think ahead, to where the round will certainly be.” That got her thinking.

Answering the Call to Entrepreneurship

In early 2011, Alma’s wanderlust started and she questioned if she must have one last fling prior to heading down the aisle toward collaboration. That wanderlust has actually taken her on journeys throughout the world, from Alaska to Antarctica to every continent, however this time, it was directing her disappointments at “why does not excellent software application for litigators exist” into the crazy idea that she would just go develop it.

At the time, Alma understood absolutely nothing about the world of start-ups or software application or legal tech, however she understood modification was required, and she wantedwished to be where the roundpuck was going. So in February 2012, she started and stop!(As proof that she didn’t escape howling, Alma revealed me her bye-bye email, separately thanking and sharing inside jokes with more than 150 individuals at Gibson Dunn.)

The years that followed were, sometimes, completeloaded with all the promise and excitement of how people picture constructing a start-up must be (see, eg, beta screening Allegory on a genuine trial; raising even moremajority a million dollars; discovering mini-Zuckerbergs; and onboarding the very first consumers)! Other times were a problem and had her missing even the worst days in Biglaw (see, eg, the first tech team set Allegory back months; inability to pay bills; and, obviously, the ceremonyinitiation rite for numerous start-ups … a lawsuit). The highs and lows came at her fast, but the payoff was her dream actually come truebecome a reality: Allegory, finished and all set for primetime.

So Will Allegory Make an Impact?

When I first saw Allegory, I saw how it was constructed around how litigators thought and work, and exactly what’s even more, it connects everything we require at our fingertips in means that many of us have not even dreamt of. And it’s zombie lawyer-proof. You do not need to cry over files and folders and procedure when you have actually got larger things to cry about. It almost made me thrilled enough to end up being an exercising legal representative once again (well, possibly not). At the threat of not doing it justice here, it’s a real-world example of the clich d “you have to see it to think it.”

Complete disclosure: I work for a highly effective legal startup in the legal handled services market. Part of my factor for signing up with was all the skilled attorneys I saw struggling under the squashing weight of ever-more-complicated understanding management and failed collaboration. While my company focuses on solving that complexity in the realm of discovery, there is no question that litigation groups likewise get slowed down trying to handle and interact about truths, problems, witnesses, files and everything else they requirehave to know in order to win their cases, instead of spending then practicing law by putting essential understanding to work.

Bottom line, there requireshas to be a better means of giving and codifying finest practices and expertise than merely transmitting them by mouth from one generation of burnt-out associate to another — — we have actually come a long means given that Homer.

Orin, now an investor in Allegory, has actually seen (and made use of) it in action, calling it “a game changer.” He thinks it supplies “an edge over my adversaries and allows my groups to concentrate on winning our cases instead of squandering hours chasing the very same information over and over once again.” Before investing, he utilized a prototype of Allegory in a high-stakes and high-profile jury trial in the Industrial Department of New york city State Supreme Court. According to Orin, “this was a complex case with lots of twists and turns that needed everyone to be on top of the voluminous record at all times, something Allegory provided us the power to attain.”

The basic counsel of AMC Networks, Jamie Gallagher, recognizes Alma’s personal value and the guarantee of her item: One of the secrets to our success in this substantial litigation was Gibson Dunn’s complete command of the truths in an extremely complex and fact intensive case. This command was enabled by Alma Asay, both as a person who mastered the realities so totally and contributed a lot to the concept of our case that we insisted she go to trial with us after she left and with her development and contribution of the Allegory prototype, which was used to keep the group in sync, prepare witnesses, and quickly find essential proof in the courtroom. I really think we wouldn’t have gotten the extremely beneficial result we achieved without Alma’s contributions.

Allegory’s clients extend from Biglaw to a growing number of smaller firms excited to welcome technology to support their outstanding legal work. Cynthia Arato, a former Gibson Dunn partner and a founder of the well-respected litigation store, Shapiro, Arato amp; Isserles LLP (one of Allegory’s very first clients), has been a follower from the beginning, describing, “Allegory is an indispensable tool, offering a seamless method to incorporate crucial case info and to offer customers with more efficient data management. It’s excellent to be on the cutting edge of litigation technology.”

There will certainly be difficulties. Allegory is brand-new to a crowded (however fragmented) market of litigation tools. However it represents the pledge of business and procedure, the promise attractive to lots of legal startups. Associates are candid with Alma about the issues they’re facing in the trenches, and they reveal excitement at the opportunity to spend even more of their time concentrated on being legal representatives. When more attorneys start utilizing Allegory and other litigation tools to manage their cases (and specifically when they find themselves on the losing end for not using it), they will never ever go back to the world of boxes and shared drives, simply as I’m never ever trading in my iPhone for a fax machine or a flip-phone.

If you take place to be among those legal representatives who would rather be lawyering than banging your head, computer or coffee cup against the wall in frustration, you know where to reach me: joe.borstein@thomsonreuters.com. And you can reach out to Alma about Allegory at alma@allegorylaw.com.

(Disclosure: My company is working to put meat on the bones of a collaboration deal with Allegory as we speak.)

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