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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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As one of the first 100 employees at Facebook and through her 9+ year tenure, Joanna Shevelenko played leadership roles in various organizations including user operations, platform operations, business development, and building the Facebook office in India. Prior to Atrium, Joanna was also the COO at Premise Data and EIR at Social Capital. Now as COO of Atrium, she leads various teams including G&A, business operations, recruiting, management operations, and accounts. In this role, she is helping define repeatable processes to operationalize the business so that it can continue to scale with ease.