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We knew it was coming -- computers are replacing lawyers.
With $65 million in new money, legal tech startup Atrium is developing smart machines to take over more legal tasks. The year-old company already has applications for smart contracts, but machine learning is changing everything.
We just didn't expect it to happen so soon. If we're honest about it, however, we knew clients would have replaced us a long time ago if they had the technology.
For law firms, Atrium could be what the future looks like. It claims to be "the technology-first law firm of the future."
The firm has helped some of the fastest-growing startups raise a combined $500 million, and has 250 clients so far. It serves clients with legal services, business professionals and engineers.
With its newest round of funding, Atrium plans to expand and automate more of the menial work that lawyers do. The business model is making waves in Silicon Valley and in the legal community.
"One of the things big law partners say when they talk about Atrium is that we get people who wouldn't make partner," says co-founder Justin Kan. "And I say, they're the people who are doing the work for you anyway, but they transition out because they hate the lifestyle."
TechCrunch says law firms have left the door open for disruption by tech companies like Atrium. The traditional business model -- billable hours for legal services -- is not the only game in town anymore.
"Law firms generate revenue from hourly billing, and lack an incentive to vastly improve efficiency," said venture partner Andrew Chen.
Atrium approaches business from another angle -- it is an engineering company with a legal clientele. It builds machines to work around common, time-consuming tasks and frees its lawyers to focus on advising clients.
So lawyers will still have jobs in the future, just different. With $65 million in venture capital, ya think?