#BakersDozen is a series of interviews with leading professionals in the fields of law, consulting, finance, tech, and more.


Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be in the legal business?

Basha Rubin: CEO & Founder, Priori Legal

Basha Frost Rubin: CEO & Co-Founder, Priori Legal

I went to law school straight from undergrad (Yale to Yale), where I realized that while I loved much of the substance of legal work, its rhythm wasn’t suited to my temperament. In my third year, I decided to launch a legal business dedicated to making the legal industry more efficient and cost-effective. Many iterations later, my company, Priori Legal, was born.

What do you do for a living right now?

I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Priori Legal. We’re a curated legal marketplace that uses a data-driven approach to optimize the outside counsel search and hiring process for in-house legal departments.

What has been your greatest triumph and your greatest success in the legal services field and what did you learn from each?

My greatest triumph and success has been launching Priori Legal and watching the impact it has had on both sides of the marketplace. On the supply-side, we ease the administrative burden and cost of client acquisition and management for small firm practitioners, enabling them to focus more of their time on delivering excellent legal services. On the demand-side, we connect legal departments with the right attorneys for their needs at the right price for their budget–drastically shortening the procurement process and giving them back control of their legal budget. I’m immensely proud of that achievement.

Do you think the legal industry is headed in the right direction, the wrong direction – or which direction?

I think it’s a mistake to view the legal industry as monolithic. Its diversity–driven by overwhelming opacity and fragmentation–is both its greatest weakness and its greatest strength. As technology permeates more deeply into the industry, we will see accelerated change on both sides of that equation. I believe that the impact of technology will be a net gain for the industry, but also has harmful potential, particularly vis-a-vis a race to the bottom in terms of the quality of legal services for certain clients.


Students and graduates perceive less opportunity in legal than other industries, and the legal industry needs to adapt accordingly.


 You’re known for innovation and have been an inspiration to many. Who inspires you – and why?

Anyone with the drive to start their own business is an inspiration to me.

What advice would you give to the younger generation contemplating law as a career?

Spend a summer or (even better) a year actually working with attorneys so you understand exactly what the day-to-day will be like as a full-time lawyer. It’s not for everybody, and it’s better to find out early on if it’s right for you.

How deep do you think will be the inroads of technology in the industry?

Extremely–no aspect of the legal industry will be unaffected–billing and invoicing, practice management, document drafting and review, data relating to attorney performance, data around the court system, predictive pricing analytics, automated filing… The list goes on and on. In my opinion, while the overall number of attorneys will likely need to constrict, the continued developments in technology will enable attorneys to focus on the more interesting and analytical aspects of legal practice. That’s exciting!

In ten years, do you see an industry much as it is – or do you see new players, new technology and an altered state?

Ten years is a challenging timeframe because a lot depends on whether/how/where the Rules of Professional Conduct change. My sincere hope is that change will be progressive and dramatic to enable law firms to operate more like cutting-edge businesses than anachronistic Luddites.

Are consultants and lawyers looking increasingly similar?

No, I don’t believe so.

Should the distinction continue?

There will always be a place for lawyers in the professional services industry.  The skills and knowledge required of lawyers to provide excellent advice differs from that of a general consultant, much in the same way that professional financial advisors rely on specialized knowledge of their industry. As I mentioned previously, technology will cause the overall number of attorneys to constrict, but lawyers will remain valued advisers.

What are your thoughts on the increasing availability of data to guide client-side procurement of legal services?

I think it’s great–and it’s core to our mission at Priori Legal to make data more transparent and digestible to clients in their search for legal counsel. Our system analyzes attorneys’ practices to better communicate their expertise to potential clients, creates transparency around their rates and the time it will take to complete common tasks and tracks attorney performance/client satisfaction to improve the overall client experience. We find that this data enables legal departments to be more confident making decisions about their outside counsel and to budget more accurately.

What’s the one most significant factor that will drive change in your view?

Technology.

Are we seeing the demise of the “profession” and the real emergence of the “business” of law?

No–they are not anathema to one another. Law will be transformed by technology like every other industry, but it should be able to retain the positive aspects of the profession while leveraging technology to make it more business-forward.

What do you consider is the greatest challenge facing the industry?

The greatest challenge facing the industry is attracting quality talent. Students and graduates perceive less opportunity in legal than other industries, and the legal industry needs to adapt accordingly.

What do you see as the greatest opportunity for the sector looking forward?

Embracing technology to make legal work more efficient. If the industry does that, the opportunities are endless.

Do you think law can improve its track record on diversity and inclusion? How?

Yes. In the same way that any company/industry can: by implementing more inclusive hiring processes that combat the gravitational pull toward homosocial reproduction and investing in resources focused on retention.

Will the current regulatory framework around law help or hinder it in the future?

Hinder. The current regulations have a chilling effect on innovation and investment in the space. The regulatory framework is so behind technological developments that no innovator, even one who wants to make sure they are in compliance, can move with swift certainty. This is to the long-term detriment of the profession.


Embracing technology to make legal work more efficient. If the industry does that, the opportunities are endless.


Who do you think are the greatest influencers on the industry these days?

I think the disconnect between the legal academy and legal practice is problematic. Law schools profoundly influence practice, but there seems to be little dialogue about how we can improve legal education to more properly reflect the requirements of the modern industry.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Or what would you do differently?

Yes. I would adhere more closely to a lean startup approach by building a less robust technological solution before going to market.

If a law firm was a startup pitching for investors, would you be an investor?

It would depend on the pitch and what my goals were as an investor. I would rule it neither out or in on the basis of being a law firm, it all depends on the details.

Wildcard Questions

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I’d be running another legal tech startup. I love it.

What would you like to be known for?

Tenacity.

What’s your favorite hobby or activity outside of law?

Entrepreneurship, reading, that’s basically it!

Whats your favorite city?

NYC. Hands down.

What’s your favorite food?

Anything spicy and vegetarian.

Whats your nickname – and why?

No nickname has ever really stuck for me.


Basha Frost Rubin is the CEO and Co-Founder of Priori Legal, a curated legal marketplace that optimizes the outside counsel search and hiring process for legal departments and entrepreneurs. She speaks and writes extensively about how technology is changing – and will change – the market for legal services.