San Francisco-headquartered online legal marketplace UpCounsel has folded and will cease business permanently on 4 March following total funding of $26m which has included investors such Menlo Ventures, Compound, Homebrew, and BluePoint Ventures.
The marketplace was billed as big law firm quality attorneys without the overheads, reducing the costs to the end user by two thirds.
However, writing on the company blog, co-founder and CTO Mason Blake said:
“We want to thank you for your continued support since we first started UpCounsel in 2012. It has been a delight to work with each of you along the way, building innovative products to make the legal experience better. Pursuing our mission of creating a remarkable legal experience was made possible because of you. As founders we are humbled and honored that you came on this journey with us.
“Pursuant to a decision approved by our board of directors and shareholders, the UpCounsel website will be shut down permanently on March 4, 2020. At that time you will no longer be able to login to your account. In connection with the site shutdown we will be deleting all account information and any data associated with your usage of UpCounsel in accordance with best data practices. If you wish to retrieve a copy of your data, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We recommend and encourage you to continue working with your lawyers. This does not disrupt your attorney relationships or interfere with the progress of any legal project. Please reach out to your lawyer to discuss steps on managing this transition and feel free to contact us with questions as well.
“It is with a heavy heart that we deliver this news and understand that this abrupt announcement will come as a shock to some of you that have come to rely on UpCounsel. Our team will be available as usual to answer any questions you may have leading up to the site’s shutdown on March 4th. We will share further details with you as they become available.”
It follows the news that Silicon Valley disruptor Atrium – which entered the market with the ambition of providing legal advice and technology to startups – is laying off most of its in-house lawyers and focusing on its tech business, while relying on a more traditional legal services advisory infrastructure.