After hearing 6 innovative and passionate presentations, the judges have made their decision. This year’s Baton Rouge Startup Weekend winner is: LawyerBooks! This team was built around an idea from Jeremy Beckman, CEO of LawyerBooks, and developer at BlueCross Blue Shield. The idea itself was inspired by his wife, he said, “My wife is an attorney and there is a void for affordable software for attorneys.” Specifically, it is difficult for lawyers to manage client funds, and Jeremy hopes to make managing money easier for lawyers.
Other members of the team include Daniel Pacheco, a designer at Blue Cross Blue Shield and fellow developer, Chris Gray from Deloitte.
This year’s winner will receive a sixth month term at either Springboard BR or Tech Park U. Catapult Creative Media will be providing a branding package. They will also receive website business design and marketing services from Reputation Capital Media, as well as, printing services from Tri-Star Graphics and Simmons & White will be offering legal services and an invitation to present in front of potential investors from the South Coast Angel Fund.
We asked Jeremy Beckman some questions about the Startup Weekend process:
What is lawyerBooks?
This application will used by attorneys, especially solo practitioners, to keep track of client funds that must go into Trust Accounts. Attorneys will be able deposit and withdraw money into their IOLTA account without having to worry about if they are following the Louisiana Disciplinary Board’s rules on handling client funds. A full reporting would be available for the LADB if need because we will track each transaction, whether it is deposits, withdrawals for expenses, or withdrawals tied to time entries.
What was the hardest part of developing your pitch?
The hardest part was weaning down to something presentable. The crucial parts we will still be developing… the how to pitch this without telling them everything. Two of the three judges are attorneys, luckily.
Did you have a pitch strategy?
We realized a working prototype is working, but not pretty. We worked on composites before working on the model, just a general design, just static images, to present to the judges. Then the presentation and the outline of the pitch and have a ton of stuff in there, cutting stuff out to the bare bones. I can now do it for three and a half minutes. It’s an elevator pitch now.
How did your team work together?
Me and Chris worked on development while Daniel did the design and mock-ups and print materials. We were a three person team, and the only team that did not get picked on pitch night.
Did you have support from the coaches?
Some coaches were good with that. Like the public speaking guy, Trey Godfrey. He helped us figure out what we needed to include and what to cut. Once we cut down everything, we brought it to him and he cut it even further. We had the hows, but then a key feature came up that needed accommodating. Having an attorney here was key. He pointed out that rules should be on there and should be cited for certain things.
What keeps customers using your service?
While every lawyer goes through this, why would you pay monthly after you become familiar with these rules? It’s also a tracker and can still handle all the info and have a way to skip the wizard feature. There’s still times when a lawyer doesn’t do something for a while, but still needs to check the rules. It provides tracking and recording. One of the features is a dashboard that they can be used for time management and trust accounts sorted by a list of clients
Any regulations or certifications needed?
No, but I would have it looked over by several attorneys. The Bar Association would look at this. We initially planned a 30 day trial. The fifteen thousand dollars we are asking for from investors would get us a dedicated person for tech support.
What is your projected market?
There are nine thousand practitioners here in Louisiana, and a thousand is the number we have projected for our company; we want two hundred signed up in a couple of months if we launch in October as planned.