Smith School Grads Launch

A few weeks back I was fortunate enough to meet Ben Hatten, one of the founders of, a marketplace for lawyers and small businesses. The three founders met at the Maryland’s Smith School of launchs to help small business. launchs to help small business.

Business. Not only have they taken great advantage of what Smith offers (from business planning courses to a winter break accelerator program at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship).

Legal River is currently participating in the Launchbox Digital accelerator in Washington DC. Today Legal River issued press release introducing their services to the marketplace. For any small business or new venture, finding a lawyer that can complete non-standard request is difficult to say the least. We have run into the problem often with BTW, you can follow on Here is the Press Release:

“Washington D.C. — June 1, 2009 — This morning Legal River launched an online marketplace where small and medium sized businesses can find lawyers to meet all of their legal needs. Legal River was conceived in 2008 when three MBA students at Smith School of Business were trading war stories about some of the challenges they faced in their previous jobs. “One issue that kept coming up was how difficult and time consuming it was to find lawyers for unique, long-tail problems.” said Co-Founder Ben Hatten, one of the company’s founders. The three identified a problem, and then they set out to create a solution.

We wanted to create a solution that would empower businesses to find
the right lawyers and empower lawyers to reach out to clients they
wanted to help,” commented Co-Founder Zach Girod. “To make our
service effective we know it has to be a win-win scenario”

So far the trio has received a great response from area lawyers, who
are signing up for the site at a brisk pace. “Lawyers appreciate that
our platform can become a powerful tool for them to express their unique
value to a prospective client,” said Co-Founder Reed Atkin, “and
that’s why they want to be a part of it.” Legal River is now available
to businesses in the DC/MD/VA region, after having spent the past few
months completing a successful invite only launch. The service is
free for businesses and the results are non-binding. It takes
approximately 10 minutes to enter in a case and businesses typically
begin receiving responses from lawyers in 2 business days.

“This is a powerful tool for businesses. Finding the right lawyer can
be very time consuming, and there isn’t a lot of margin for error. By
allowing businesses to compare lawyers who are interested in their case
side-by-side, the business can make the best decision possible,” noted
Asher Epstein, Director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at
the University of Maryland. “We are pleased to have helped this
business launch, and are excited for the businesses they are going to

If you are a lawyer in DC Metro or a small biz/startup in the hood check out They can save you time and let you get on to your core business. I will be meeting with some of the folks later this week and will surely find out more. This group is definitely on to something as lots of small biz have unique needs when it comes to legal work. This site makes that search process simpler and less time consuming.


One thought on “Smith School Grads Launch

  1. Dealing with legal issues in a start-up can be time-consuming and terrifying–I know. Whether it’s non-compete contracts with employees, patents, or trademark issues you can end up pouring precious time and money down the drain. Maybe matching up lawyers who specialize in new ventures–or at last appreciate new ventures–will help more businesses find success.

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