My Brush With the Startup World

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in Diary of a Startup | 0 comments

I made arrangements to meet with a Startup guru guy. That’s the best way I can describe him. He said my idea would never work. Basically, he said nobody would ever come to my website because they would never be able to find it using Google. He said it would cost too much money to get new customers. He said I could never beat The National Immigrant Justice Center in a Google search. (LearningLawyer has already done this, I’m glad to say. I love the National Immigrant Justice Center but it isn’t what the startup guy thought it was. At all. ) He said to refine it, then come back to him, then he’d spend lots of time and money talking about it before ever building a website. I listened to him and appreciated his input a LOT, but I also thought, “Google? Lawyers don’t find legal things through Google. What about all my contacts? I know so many people across the country…thousands because I contact people all the time for work. And, what about law-related websites that did little advertising and have been successful? I can name a lot of these, and none of them got customers through advertising the way he was thinking. The legal world just isn’t like that.” He also said he didn’t think lawyers would pay even $5 for a document, because you can find everything for free on the internet. It was impossible for me to describe to a non-lawyer exactly why legal information doesn’t work like that. (I asked numerous lawyers about the validity of that statement. Every lawyer I’ve mentioned that to has snorted…derisively…we pay a lot of money to belong to certain websites or associations where we can get legal information and documents).

See, if you call a plumber, he comes and plumbs and you see something visible. You pay him $300 for his hour of time and you are glad your plumbing disaster is averted. Same with an electrician or someone who builds decks or hangs drywall. I think part of the problem is that legal work goes on in the mind, and it’s difficult for non-lawyers to grasp exactly what’s being “built.” I have had to put up with laypeople and even other lawyers thinking that immigration law is just filing papers and that it’s a really easy way to make money…but it only looks that way to someone who really doesn’t understand immigration law at all. When you look a deck you can usually tell if it’s made badly, but with immigration law the consequences of a bad job may take 15 years to show up. Anyway, I’m glad I had the experience with meeting with him, but I’d have had concrete examples prepared in a different way if I did it over.

Developing a Solution
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