The Legal Entrepreneur at UC Berkeley

“The Legal Entrepreneur”

Join Berkeley Law and Bay Area’s entrepreneurial community for an evening talk where Law will be seen from its unique business perspective.

The U.S. legal industry alone is estimated to excess 300 billion dollars/year, with tremendous room for development of innovative practices and technologies to challenge some of its millenary traditions.

You think lawyers do not make good entrepreneurs? Come and talk to our team of innovators.

You will meet a lawyer who started a big dotcom out of an opportunity that he saw in his everyday business, two legal firms with innovative business models highly based on disruptive technologies and a Berkeley-based startup that is developing new tools for the legal industry.

Whether you are an engineering or computer science student considering your next startup project, a lawyer looking for a new job, or an MBA who wants to add new information to your entrepreneurial radar, you might be surprised with the opportunities around.

A) Panel: “The Legal Entrepreneur”

Moderator: Andrew Gass – Latham & Watkins


Alessandro Isolani – founder of

Mariah Samost – LawGives

Akshay Verma – Axiom Law

AJ Shankar – CEO EasyEsi

B) Speakers


Andy Gass is an attorney in the San Francisco Office of the global law firm, Latham & Watkins. His practice covers a range of issues relevant to technology companies, including antitrust and IP counseling, trial and appellate litigation, and general strategic guidance. Andy graduated from Yale University (Magna Cum Laude), received his J.D. from U.C. Berkeley (Order of the Coif), and went on to work as a law clerk for Judge Stephen Williams on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. He later served as adjunct faculty here at Berkeley, teaching the core Copyright Law course, and is currently the Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Copyright in Broadcasts, Sound Recordings, and Performing Artists’ Works. He has written extensively regarding incentives for innovation in creative and scientific fields.


– Alessandro Isolani transitioned from law to business in 1998, when he left the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office to found, which he lead as President and C.E.O. for ten years. Ebates pioneered the concept of online cash-back retailing and currently generates approximately $2 billion in annual sales. Ebates is poised for an early 2014 IPO.

– Mariah Samost is responsible for business development and marketing at LawGives. She’s a US licensed attorney with a deep interest in helping founders get their companies started on a sound footing. She was drawn to LawGives because of its simplicity and ability to dramatically help founders by decreasing the time and increasing the efficiency of finding a great lawyer for their needs. The LawGives team is combining their knowledge of the legal industry, technical systems architecture, and user-centric design methodologies to rapidly prototype and build better ways to deliver access to trusted legal help.

– Akshay Verma has an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and a JD from Santa Clara. After law school, he practiced environmental law at the law firms of Pillsbury Withrop and Farella Braun + Martel for seven years. He switched gears last years and now heads up a business development team at Axiom Legal, focusing mainly on tech clients here in the Bay Area.

– AJ Shankar has an A.B. in Applied Math from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Berkeley. While at Cal, he was a non-testifying expert for a law firm, and saw firsthand the difficulty and expense firms bore in dealing with discovery. His first startup, Modista, won the UC Berkeley Business Plan competition in 2008; we were sued in 2009 and though were subsequently acquired, he learned quite a bit more about the law that way. He co-founded EasyESI in 2011. EasyESI applies serious computer science to the traditionally laborious practice of e-discovery. They use cutting-edge algorithms and an obsession with user experience to make sure that discovery is fast, intuitive, easy to use, collaborative, and accessible anywhere. They count as clients 15 state Attorneys General and dozens of law firms.

C) Food for thought

– Despite the Massive Size of the Legal Industry ($300B), Venture Capital Funding to the Legal Tech Sector is Limping Along (CB Insights)

– Disrupting the Legal Industry (Project DisCo)

– What companies are attempting to disrupt the legal industry? (Quora)

– How Entrepreneurship Is Reshaping The Legal Industry (Forbes)

– Stanford Law is a hotbed for tech startups and legal entrepreneurs (ABA Journal)

– Changing Hats: Lawyers Turn Entrepreneurs (Forbes)

– Can Lawyers Be Entrepreneurial? (New York Times)

– A Lawyer Turned Entrepreneur Comes To The Aid Of Busy Parents (Above the Law)

– Why Most Lawyers Make Terrible Entrepreneurs (Jonathan Fields)

– Here’s Why Lawyers Don’t Run Startups (And Why Entrepreneurs Hate Lawyers) (Business Insider)

– 6 Reasons The Legal Industry Is Ripe For Startup Invasion (Tech Cocktail)

– 10 Trends Reshaping the Legal Industry (Legal Careers)

– Getting Rich By The Numbers, A CrunchBased How-To (TechChrunch)

– Law is Broken .The past, present, and future of an industry standing at the precipice of change (RethinkLaw)

via The Legal Entrepreneur Tickets, Berkeley – Eventbrite.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.