CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Chicago-based Total Attorneys announced today that BIA Digital Partners II LP (BIA) has made a growth capital investment in the Company, supporting Total Attorneys’ core mission of advancing the innovative use of technology in the legal profession
Founded in 2002, Total Attorneys is recognized as an industry leading technology-enabled services provider, helping small law firms and solo practitioners efficiently grow and manage their practices. Through powerful technologies and a deep service platform, Total Attorneys has created a suite of integrated marketing and work-flow management tools for smaller law firms. The Company boasts an impressive client list and has won numerous industry awards and accolades. BIA is a private investment firm based in Chantilly, Virginia focusing on mid-to-later stage companies. With this new financing, Total Attorneys is in a stronger position than ever to lead the industry in providing technology services and solutions to legal professionals.
Total Attorneys recognized early two major shifts in the market: the migration of attorney marketing from traditional media to online performance-based media and consumer interest in seeking information and transacting business over the internet. Founder and CEO Ed Scanlan stated, “When we launched the Company in 2002, we knew attorneys would need to embrace these changes to have thriving practices and deliver great client service. The integrated goal of helping attorneys run their businesses more smoothly and profitably while maximizing consumer access to quality legal services shapes every decision Total Attorneys makes.”
Kevin Chern, President, joined the Company in 2005, bringing 12 years of experience as a practicing attorney and founder of one of the nation’s leading consumer bankruptcy firms. “Kevin brought a unique set of experiences and relationships to the Company. He was instantly able to understand how these market shifts created both opportunities and pitfalls for consumers and attorneys, helping to position the Company as a trusted service provider,” stated Scanlan.
Over the past five years, the legal profession has witnessed a remarkable shift in the legal marketplace and in the consumer demand for unbundled online legal services. According to Forrester, e-commerce will continue to grow. By 2013, estimated U.S. online retail sales will reach $299 billion. Internet-savvy consumers regularly conduct sensitive business transactions online and actively seek online legal services. That market is largely untapped. It is estimated that nearly 50% of middle income U.S. households encounter at least one legal matter each year, but only about 20% of those households seek assistance from a licensed attorney. Many of those consumers currently obtain services from online “legal services” companies that are not legally qualified to provide the services they need. Total Attorneys' technology helps licensed attorneys willing to work with those clients to provide convenient, cost-effective services so consumers are not forced to seek assistance from unlicensed substitutes.
“While practicing, I observed consumers who could not find legal services, could not afford assistance or did not have choices about the delivery of those services. Those issues arose in part because small firm attorneys who are most willing to accommodate these consumers did not have access to the technology and support necessary to do so. Our firsthand exposure to these obstacles has been invaluable in architecting solutions that benefit both attorneys and their clients,” Chern said.
As consumer needs evolve, the legal profession itself is undergoing a significant shift in priorities. A flood of new, tech-savvy lawyers has entered the legal marketplace looking to build long-term, fulfilling careers as counselors and practitioners rather than living by the billable hour or focusing on making partner in a large law firm. At the same time, larger law firms are downsizing and attorneys in the baby boomer generation are starting to ease into retirement. Solos and small law firms are now the fastest growing group of legal professionals. These attorneys are interested in technology solutions that will allow for a more flexible work/life balance and will reduce many of their administrative burdens so they may focus more on the practice of law and less on administration. They also recognize that technology provides the tools to help them build a career, transition into retirement or bridge the gap between positions. Above all, these attorneys are aware of the growing demand for online legal services and seek solutions to help them deliver unbundled legal services online and enable them to create web-based offices that streamline practice management.
Total Attorneys has a clear goal for shaping the future of the legal industry, and the Company’s focus on delivery of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions that assist attorneys in providing cost-effective legal services to their clients positions Total Attorneys to achieve that goal. While other legal industry companies have been focused on specific aspects of law firm administration, Total Attorneys has worked to develop integrated solutions to meet the needs of this new generation of legal professionals. In the fall of 2009, Total Attorneys acquired Virtual Law Office Technology, LLC, a company providing a SaaS virtual law office platform to attorneys.
The SaaS solution allows an attorney to create a complete web-based practice or to integrate the technology into a traditional brick & mortar law office. The relaunch of the platform in the spring of 2011 will position the Company as the primary leader in the field of eLawyering. The integration of Total Attorneys’ high performance marketing services, which will populate prospective client information directly to the platform, will give the Company’s customers an even greater competitive advantage in the legal marketplace.
"Total Attorneys is committed to providing world-class technology tools and services to small firms and solo practitioners,” said Scanlan. “Throughout our history, we have focused on enabling our customers to better grow and manage their practices with ROI driven solutions. As the dramatic growth in unbundled legal services continues, we believe Total Attorneys is exceptionally well positioned to provide the industry’s leading secure and trusted platform for both consumers and law firms to effectively collaborate in this environment.”
As it pushes forward with innovative technology, the Company is conscious of the unique concerns that legal professionals face in the use of technology. At the end of 2010, Total Attorneys banded together with other legal SaaS vendors to form the Legal Cloud Computing Association (LCCA), an organization dedicated to educating the legal profession about technology and security issues related to SaaS. Total Attorneys will work with the LCCA to draft standards for the use of cloud computing by law firms. This education-oriented content will be provided to the American Bar Association and state bar regulators as well as private practitioners.
Total Attorneys also hopes to see its technology play a role in solving the widespread access to justice problem in the U.S. The ABA and many state bars acknowledge unbundled legal services as one solution to the current limitations on access to legal services among populations of lower to moderate means, and the Company’s SaaS solution facilitates such delivery. In addition, Total Attorneys is building closer relationships with the non-profit legal services industry to better understand how the Company may assist legal professionals in their efforts to provide greater access to justice for the public at large.
“The development of online delivery of legal services is consumer driven and there is a continual need for expanded access to justice in our country. Virtual law offices provide a secure and cost-effective solution to the public. Total Attorneys understands that the future of law practice depends on cloud computing and they are committed to developing disruptive technologies that will push innovation in the delivery of online legal services,” stated Stephanie Kimbro, Technology Consultant and Evangelist for Total Attorneys, co-founder of Virtual Law Office Technology, and recipient of the ABA 2009 Keane Award for Excellence in eLawyering.
"BIA Digital Partners’ capital provides the funding necessary to finance our growth initiatives and strategic goals. We believe we are on the cusp of a transformative period for the legal services industry and having the capital to execute quickly and efficiently on our strategic initiatives is critical. BIA’s knowledge of the internet services sector is substantial and they are a welcome addition to the Total Attorneys team as financial partner and Board member,” Scanlan stated.
Having cultivated an environment that encourages each employee to reach his or her fullest potential, Total Attorneys continually increases the energy and talent devoted to its core services and to the launch of its newest SaaS offerings. “Over its eight year history, Total Attorneys has done a tremendous job of defining and refining the niche in which it operates,” stated Damien Dovi of BIA. “Ed and Kevin have assembled a very talented team of people and created a visionary culture at the Company, which really excited us about this investment. The entire team at Total Attorneys has worked tirelessly to create the industry’s leading, fully integrated marketing and work flow management platform for smaller law firm clientele. The Company is at the forefront of some very positive industry trends and is well positioned for future success.”
About Total Attorneys, L.L.C.
Total Attorneys delivers marketing solutions, Software as a Service and a professional, industry-focused call center to small law firms and solo attorneys through its powerful technology services platform. The platform allows the company to accomplish its mission of improving lives through innovation in access and delivery of legal services. Total Attorneys was ranked in the top five on the Crain's Chicago Fast Fifty lists for 2009 and 2010 and listed 169th and 219th on the 2008 and 2009 Inc. 5000 lists of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.totalattorneys.com
About BIA Digital Partners
BIA Digital Partners is a private investment firm, managing approximately $275 million. Financing is available for acquisitions, organic growth, recapitalizations and leveraged/management buyouts among other purposes. BIA Digital Partners maintains a focus on mid- to later-stage companies operating in the media and entertainment, telecommunications, information, education, business and consumer services industries. Investments generally range from $5 to $15 million and are typically in the form of subordinated debt with warrants or preferred equity. For more information, visit www.biadp.com.