Jan 13, 2020

Law firm startup Atrium lays off most of its lawyers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Atrium, a law firm for startups led by Twitch co-founder Justin Kan, is laying off most of its attorneys and paralegals. It now will focus primarily on tech tools it developed for lawyers and law firm clients, and for new areas it will expand into.

Why it matters: Even lawyers aren't immune to the unpredictability of working for a startup—and the appeal of generating high margins from selling software instead of human services.

What they're saying: In a draft announcement of the changes shared with Axios, CEO Justin Kan writes that the growth and success of Atrium's legal services business "wasn't enough."

The details: Atrium tells Axios that only a small number of its lawyers will remain at the firm to work with clients on complex issues and with a network of outside law firms to which it will refer clients.

  • The company also says that it's giving laid off lawyers the option to join this network of outside lawyers.

Founded in 2017, Atrium has raised around $75 million in venture capital funding from firms like Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, and Y Combinator.

  • Its goal was to improve on the traditional law firm model, by developing software to improve efficiency for both its attorneys and clients.

Editor's note: The story has been updated to note that Atrium plans to expand into areas beyond legal services.

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All top law school journals are led by women for the first time in history

Grace Paras (left) was the editor in chief of the Georgetown Law Journal and Toni Deane (right) is the first African American to lead the publication. Photo: Astrid Riecken/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The editors in chief of law journals at the top 16 law schools in the U.S. are women for the first time in history, the Washington Post reports.

The state of play: At an event honoring the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote that brought all of the editors together, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, "It's such a contrast to the ancient days when I was in law school. There really is no better time for women to enter the legal profession."

Venture capital funding fled U.S. and China for Britain in 2019

Reproduced from Tech Nation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Venture capital funding fell significantly in the U.S. and China last year, but boomed in the U.K., rising to a record $13.2 billion, according to a report prepared for the British government by industry group Tech Nation and research firm Dealroom.

Why it matters: The U.K. saw a significant increase in the number of deals and amount of money pledged by venture capital firms, far outpacing other European economies, with half the total funding coming from firms and investors based in the U.S. and Asia.

Go deeperArrowJan 16, 2020

Goldman Sachs holds its first investor day

Photo: Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

For the first time in its 151-year history, Goldman Sachs, the storied investment bank, opened its doors to investors and others for a day of presentations about its various business lines — and how it has been remaking itself.

Why it matters: David Solomon has been CEO for just more than a year, and under him, the bank has pivoted toward the mass market and making other strategic moves that could have a big effect on the evolution of modern banking.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 29, 2020