Nimbus Legal Celebrates 2 Years: A Q&A With Our Founder, Beth Lebowitz
Nimbus Legal is celebrating its’ second year in the business, and it’s safe to say we are not at all where we thought we’d be. We have accomplished so much more than we imagined we could in the first two years and are getting prepped to expand the concept nationally, as well as explore new strategies. Turns out companies really like the outsourced GC model. Nimbus has grown to six GCs in three states with specialities ranging from SaaS to cannabis.
Beth Lebowitz, our founder, and her team are now in the process of launching two more legal concepts that will both be in market this year (more to come on those).
We made a bet that the legal industry was ready for a big change, powered by innovation. That bet is paying off and now we’re about to double down.
Beth has been a little busy, with all of the business running and new business launching, and outsourced GC-ing. We managed to get her to sit down for a few minutes, breath, and reflect on the past two years. While many entrepreneurs often lose sight of why they started their business, Beth has kept her “why” at the heart of her work, every single day.
Q: Like many successful founders, you had an aha moment that spurred you to take the leap and start Nimbus Legal. Did you know this is what the concept would end up as, or did you have something else in mind?
A: I knew I wanted to solve some very specific challenges both for scaling businesses and for attorneys. I knew there had to be a better model that satisfied the needs of both that weren’t being met with traditional legal services. But, as most entrepreneurs are familiar with, no! I didn’t know that we would end up where we are at today, especially with our upcoming new platform launch and plans for growth. It’s very exciting.
Q: What were the challenges you sought to address for scaling businesses?
A: The biggest issue for scaling businesses when it comes to legal needs is what I call “intelligent use of resources.” I use this term a lot. What it means for companies in scale mode is that they should be able to get the most efficient and best use of legal services, in a way that contributes to growth.
For companies between $5M and $25M in revenue, legal isn’t a “sometimes” need, and they can no longer get away with template documents. Legal is a wildly unpredictable necessity that intersects with many areas of their business, from finance to sales. By leveraging the outsourced GC model, these companies are getting the legal attention they absolutely need, for a predictable and highly economical cost. An important point is also that they are getting access to a qualified General Counsel, much earlier in their company’s growth cycle than is generally possible. This allows them to grow with their GC and obtain the benefits of a GC at a time when it is beneficial to set the building blocks for risk management with growth.
Speaking of economics, the flat-fee model is a game changer. Companies in this demographic have an extremely difficult time projecting legal costs. They also find themselves not asking for the help they need because every little question sent to their attorneys adds up. At the same time, they aren’t yet ready for full time general counsel. The Nimbus Legal model has solved a significant economic pain for our customers.
Q: You mentioned that these companies aren’t asking for the help they need because of cost. What does that mean for them in the short and long term?
A: It means they are only getting a fraction of the legal counsel they need. The loss can be felt in poorly negotiated sales contracts, document mis-management, disgruntled investors, and missed M&A opportunities, to name a few. The biggest hits come when they do need a speciality law firm for a specific matter, and have to manage the firm and the process themselves. It can be overly-costly in both time and money.
The fact is, companies in this phase of growth need a legal resource who really gets their business and is highly available to them. It’s an ounce of prevention in the truest sense.
Q: What about the challenges for attorneys you wanted to overcome?
A: The straight answer is that attorneys who work for traditional law firms do not have work life balance. Some are happy with this, others are not. The outsourced GC model is not for attorneys who like working 100 hours a week and want to be a partner at a big firm. This model is for the attorney who wants work/life balance, more control over who they work with, and how they grow their practice.
I’m going to be talking a lot more about this in upcoming posts and in connection with our new launch this year. To be brief, we are looking for attorneys that understand this model and want to transition or supplement their practice with outsourced GC work.
Q: What’s another pain point for attorneys you wanted to solve?
A: The billable hour. The flat-fee model frees attorneys from the tediousness of billing their time. For many attorneys, it feels like nickel and diming the client. Many of us simply don’t like anything about billing a client .25 of an hour every time we read an email.
Nimbus also took away a lot of the challenges of running a practice. Many attorneys love what they do, but they don’t love the nuances of running a business. They don’t want to go into an office very day, hire a paralegal, or take on business development. Having to maintain hundreds of clients a year is hard, whereas, just having a few clients that you work with more intimately is preferred for our GCs. We are also building out services to help attorneys get started building their own outsourced GC practice.
Q: What’s in store for the next two years?
A: Wow, a lot. We’re in the processes of bringing two new legal concepts to the market. One is a platform that helps scale the outsourced GC model nationally, provide resources for attorneys seeking to provide services as an outsourced GC, and a marketplace for companies searching for a great outsourced GC. Our research shows that hundreds of thousands of companies would benefit from this, and we believe many attorneys would benefit from and are eager to adopt this model. We’re aiming to bring them together in a brilliant way.
The other concept will help solve the contract problem for freelancers, small business owners, and other basic contract needs, from promissory notes, to wills, to simple divorce.
What I’m most excited about is doing something innovative for the legal industry. I love practicing law and I believe in the the purpose of the law. I want to put my stamp on this industry in a positive way that helps both attorneys and the clients they serve.