Jan 11, 2022 - Business

Lifting up minority lawyers

Illustration of a hand cursor holding a gavel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Abeer Abu Judeh so strongly believed she could make the world of legal tech better, she bet her house on it.

What's happening: Abu Judeh's platform, LexDock, is trying to reinvent the way legal services are rendered while empowering minority attorneys with a one-stop-shop legal management suite.

Backstory: Abu Judeh says she was born in a refugee camp in Palestine and first came to the U.S. in 1992. She worked in the court that implemented the first electronic case filing system, then as in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 company.

  • Frustrated with wasting so much time on everyday legal operations, she started sketching out what would eventually become LexDock.

What she's saying: "I was constantly checking my email, following up, calling outside counsel," Abu Judeh tells Axios. "I was like 'Why don't we have just one system that could let me manage my files, communicate with my team and manage my budget?'"

  • After realizing one of the only things between her dream and reality was money, Abu Judeh sold her house to fund LexDock in 2019. "It felt like free-falling but without the parachute."
  • LexDock launched that August and garnered six months of press and investor attention before the pandemic hit. Still pre-revenue, Abu Judeh says they hunkered down to focus on building a better product.

What's new: She just launched a campaign asking firms to pledge 2% of their outside legal spending on underrepresented attorneys by hiring them through LexDock.

By the numbers: Black attorneys make up roughly 4.7% of all lawyers in 2021, per the American Bar Association.

  • Intel's executive vice president Steven Rodgers estimates it will take 50 years for the largest 200 firms to have partners reflecting recent law school graduating classes made of 50% women and 33% racial & ethnic minorities.

Abu Judeh's solution: LexDock is building a database of attorneys who can self-report what minority populations they fall under in order to be hired by big companies.

  • "This is real data. Not the one occasional intern you hire for the summer."

The bottom line: "It was worth every penny investing into LexDock," she says. "I know I'm doing something for the future."

Headshot of Abeer Abu Judeh
Photo courtesy of Abeer Abu Judeh

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