Law startup taps local resources to grow

For Alec Hankins, a graduate of the University of Oregon Law School and founder of Lawger, an online platform connecting people to affordable legal help, tapping into local opportunities has been a successful strategy to help his company grow.

As the company nears its formal launch, Hankins is aggressively recruiting lawyers to join the site. After sending out invitations for a pilot launch in February, the number of lawyers registered to use Lawger reached into heights that, if the startup were a traditional law firm, would make it one of the largest in Oregon. Now the company plans to reach out to the thousands of Oregonians who need legal help.

Hankins is passionate about the services Lawger could provide to Americans in need of law advice. According to him, over half of Americans have legal problems and no meaningful access to a lawyer. In some areas of the law, like landlord-tenant disputes, most cases are fought without any legal help. Lawger seeks to provide custom solutions to specific legal problems. “If you just want a few pointers on how to do-it-yourself,” Hankins said, “we can connect you to the right person.”

According to Hankins, many lawyers are solo practitioners and could use help managing and finding clients.

“Many lawyers work alone and have to find clients, market their services, and collect bills without any support,” said Hankins. “By building a venue for lawyers to practice law without the distractions that go along with it, we want to prove that independent lawyers can alleviate legal problems for thousands of Oregonians.”

Lawger plans to use their recent winnings from the Colligan User Interface Design Challenge and a seed grant from the University of Oregon RAINmaker Awards to continue developing their online platform with the aim of expanding the startup’s services throughout the United States. According to Hankins, the company is planning to bring a UI/UX designer onboard and to expand their marketing team.

A recent graduate of the RAIN Eugene Accelerator, a 12-week program providing mentorship and hands-on startup training to early-stage companies, Hankins says the accelerator helped Lawger tap into a deep knowledge-base of peers and mentors who have helped the company gain exposure and develop new connections.

“At this time last year, Lawger was just an abstract idea in the back of my mind,” said Hankins. “With help from RAIN Eugene, it has evolved in less than a year into a robust site that can connect clients to lawyers, while complying with highly restrictive legal ethics requirements.”

With the approaching launch and sweepstakes give-away, Hankins plans to continue capitalizing on emerging local resources to expand and launch his business.

“Eugene has an ideal mixture of affordability, high quality of life, and an educated and creative population base,” said Hankins. “With programs like RAIN and the infrastructure for entrepreneurs to pursue their ideas, you can connect to mentorship, media, funding opportunities, and find great talent all in an ideal setting.”

To learn more about Lawger, visit their website or email Alec Hankins at alec@lawger.com.