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Reshaping the Experience of Legal Services

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Industries have been transforming all around us; ridesharing, wellness, the future of work. Before Uber, the taximeter had been around for a century. Then, around 2010, ridesharing took off because the overall delivery and experience of ridesharing was reshaped. At the end of the day, ridesharers are still getting from point A to point B the way they were before Uber, but everything around the experience of this service has changed for the better. This is what we’re doing at Atrium with legal services, reexamining the antiquated business model of an industry that, despite its many faults, hasn’t changed in the last 100 years. Just two years into this mission, we’ve made significant progress most plainly shown by our Net Promoter Score (NPS) hitting 68 while the average NPS for a legal services firm in 2019 sits at just 29.


Addressing customer experience issues in legal

The faults of the legal industry are often magnified for startups that need responsive, transparent, and cost-effective legal counsel but instead end up paying beyond their budget for projects that are not clearly defined to them. At Atrium, we understand the pain points our clients experience with the legal industry because we’ve experienced them ourselves. As COO at my previous startup, I oversaw legal, managing six to eight different law firms at a time because no one was able to service all of our needs. This alone was a part-time job in addition to focusing on my actual role in the company, but Atrium clients don’t have to spend their time doing this because we now take care of it. If our clients need, say, a GDPR, tax, and immigration specialist, we actually project manage that for them. This way, our clients work with one provider and don’t have to explain and give context to six or eight different law firms.    

Another common pain point our clients face is constantly being afraid to pick up the phone and call their lawyers because it’s so often unclear what they need and how much it will end up costing them. I can relate to this, having received huge bills for vaguely defined legal work and always wondering, in the back of my mind, “Why does this still work this way?” We’ve made it a core value at Atrium to ensure our clients never fear picking up the phone or sending emails to their attorney to discuss new matters. Our client packages and subscriptions are intentionally designed around this and incentivize our attorneys to deliver quality work, rather than a certain quantity of it.


The Atrium experience

Every initiative at Atrium answers the question: How can we help founders accelerate the growth of their companies instead of focusing on the tactical aspects of legal work?

To improve the experience of legal services, we think about our clients’ companies holistically—this is demonstrated on the legal side by vetting the best specialists and helping to manage them on a founder’s behalf, by offering services like Fundraise Concierge, and by having our Partnerships team work hard to get our founders steep discounts and privileged access to commonly needed tools for startups like AWS and Carta. 

To improve the delivery of legal services, we employ operationally sound internal workflows that are constantly being tested and improved upon, we continue to develop and test our technology platform which makes the collaboration between our clients and attorneys efficient and more pleasant, and we leverage our Accounts team to proactively ensure that we are doing everything we can to best serve each client’s legal needs.


Delivering more value

Two principles govern the way we offer our services: transparent pricing and value-based pricing (the opposite of hourly billing), and we adhere to that as we design the optimal packages for founders. Having studied the needs of startup founders over the last two years, that data and feedback have been applied in creating value-based subscriptions that encompass over 80% of what a startup founder would need, at a price point that makes sense for them. Two years after introducing this type of subscription offering for legal counsel, 94% of our 400+ clients are already subscribed and benefitting from this intentional, client-first approach. 

We bundle the most common services startups need into our packages and constantly think about what should go into those bundles to best service our clients. Atrium members receive discounts on additional services, are able to attend exclusive events, and always know exactly how much they’re paying and what it’s for.

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Joanna Shevelenko is the Chief Operating Officer of Atrium, where she oversees operations, finance, HR, recruiting, sales, account management, and marketing. So far, one of her most acclaimed projects was successfully navigating the company through its subscription-based pricing strategy and rollout. This allowed Atrium to achieve the highest client satisfaction rate in the legal services industry (aka Net Promoter Score) with over 450 clients signed up in just two years. As an executive, she champions women-in-business and diversity and inclusion in the workplace at Atrium. Under her leadership today, nearly half of the company is made up of women (48%) with 60% in management positions. She has implemented processes to support employee resource groups for women, LGBQT+, and Black/African-Americans; ensure diverse hires are accounted for in the recruiting process; and, generous parental leave policies are provided. Previously, she was the COO of Premise Data and the Head of Business Development, Mobile Partnerships at Facebook. At Facebook, she led key growth initiatives including building out its India office as part of its international expansion strategy. She was one of its first 100 hires. Joanna is also the Founding Partner of F7 Ventures (female-led seed investment fund focused on getting women on cap tables) and a Board of Director for mPharma (a healthcare company providing access to high-quality medications in Africa). She graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology.