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As Tech Giants Step on Startups, What About Their Lawyers?

Silicon Valley has evolved since silicon chip makers saturated the area in the 1970s and tech companies later grew into monsters like Apple, Facebook, and Google.

The valley also became the focus of investors, with about one-third of venture capital going to tech startups. But that was then, and this is now.

Reports say that startups are at a 30-year low, and they blame the behemoths. For lawyers facing similar pressures, it may be survival of the technologist.

BigTech

According to the Guardian, startups are not attracting investors because they can't compete with BigTech.

"People are not getting funded because Amazon might one day compete with them," one founder told the publication anonymously. "If it was startup versus startup, it would have been a fair fight, but startup versus Amazon and it's game over."

Snapchat is a recent example. It got a multi-billion infusion of capital, but Facebook poured its resources into a similar program and cut deep into the advertising market.

The effect on tech? Less competition and less innovation.

BigLaw

The legal market is evolving, too. BigLaw is merging and emerging with new business models, including changes in traditional fee structures and the means of delivering legal services.

In what maybe a quixotic quest, some lawyers are targeting the tech startups. Atrium, LLP, for example, is marketing itself as "the technology-first law firm of the future."

The company is really a hybrid startup, dividing tech and legal services for its clients. According to reports, they are closing nearly $300 million in start-up deals since opening this summer.

If startups can't get funded, however, who is going to pay their legal bills? Like some startups, more lawyers may struggle to survive.

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