We recently met up with Ashish Walia, COO of a brilliant startup called LawTrades, for an exclusive interview exploring what LawTrades stands for, where they come from, and where they’re headed – along with some great tips and tricks for the aspiring entrepreneur and those currently going through it all. So, what’s LawTrades all about? As they state on their site, “Get matched with interested and available lawyers at a price that works for you.” No more crazy retainers, commutes and phone bills. Get it right, first time around!
StartupCatchup: Please introduce us to your venture LawTrades!
Ashish: LawTrades is a marketplace that seamlessly helps startups and small businesses get their legal stuff done. The idea is that you should be able to post a job, get price quotes, compare by professional chemistry and industry experience, and then hire the best lawyer for you all within a few steps. The founders are Raad Ahmed (CEO), Ashish Walia (COO), and Aman Nagpal (CMO).
StartupCatchup: How did you come up with the idea?
Ashish: Understanding technology helps you pinpoint tedious manual steps that could be removed. What we did was take a few steps back and examined the entire process of hiring a lawyer from A-Z. It’s incredibly outdated and there are a lot of tedious things that you have to go through. For instance, dealing with a secretary, driving across town, paying a large retainer, playing phone tag, and not knowing price ranges. You’re essentially going on a blind date with every lawyer that you call.
We want to remove all the friction from the process. You shouldn’t have to spend hours finding the perfect lawyer at a price that works for you.
StartupCatchup: What made you actually take action and go for it?
Ashish: There’s no point in NOT doing it. Life is too short to not take risks, especially in the things that you believe in. We really like the idea and have experience in the legal industry since two of us went to law school. We really think we’re solving a huge problem.
StartupCatchup: How are you funding LawTrades at the moment?
Ashish: Since we were making revenue from the start we were able to bootstrap the company from the very beginning. We recently raised some money to help us expand the team and help pump out version 2 which will be released at the end of the month.
StartupCatchup: What are your plans for the business and what do you hope to accomplish?
Ashish: We want to be the go to resource for everyone that’s looking for legal help. Currently we mostly cater to businesses but we plan on expanding to other practice areas in the very near future. Expansion to different states is also a goal. Currently we’re in 6 states.
StartupCatchup: What has been the most rewarding experience so far on the journey?
Ashish: The best part is being able to deliver value to our users. Since we cater to clients it’s very rewarding to support the business community in getting the legal help they need at a price they can afford. We live in one of the most exciting time periods because technology has enabled entrepreneurs to start companies at a nominal cost, to help them navigate through the legal hurdles such as forming the business, helping them raise a round, getting a trademark, etc, it really keeps us very motivated. For our lawyers, we know that the economy is pretty rough so when we’re able to help them make more money it’s a huge win. We want to be a resource that helps lawyers find innovative ways to monetize.
StartupCatchup: What, if anything, would you have done differently looking back on the journey now?
Ashish: I don’t think we would have done anything different. Even if we made mistakes at the early stage, we were able to learn from them, which is so important for any early stage company.
StartupCatchup: What would you advise others who have an idea but simply don’t know where to begin?
Ashish: I think the best advice is to validate the idea before you shell out thousands of dollars building a product that no one wants to use. Do everything manually at first and get as much feedback as you can. Once you think you’ve found what will work, build software around it to make the overall experience better.
StartupCatchup: Can you give us a quote that motivates and inspires you to keep going?
Ashish: “The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately.” We love this quote because it shows that anyone can have an idea, a dream or a goal but it takes an immense amount of hustle to execute and make it work. Without the drive, it’ll never work. If you’re not hustling every minute to execute on your vision then someone else will.