Business

Tech start-ups target tough customer: Law firms

Brightleaf vice president Jeff Turner (left) and CEO Dan Gaffney. The firm’s goal is to help lawyers streamline the document production.
Brightleaf vice president Jeff Turner (left) and CEO Dan Gaffney. The firm’s goal is to help lawyers streamline the document production.Rose Lincoln for the Boston Globe

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Why did the entrepreneur want to sell to the lawyer?

That’s not a lawyer joke; I’m actually wondering why. There’s a noticeable increase in Boston-area start-ups pitching new technologies to law firms or corporate legal departments. But those aren’t exactly the most enthusiastic buyers of technology — and that’s according to entrepreneurs pitching the new products.

“There’s a real unwillingness to experiment,” says Adam Ziegler, who left his law firm job earlier this year to start Mootus, a Boston site that wants to help attorneys tap expertise outside their firms. “The question you get all the time is, ‘Who else is using this?’ ”

Most law firms are set up as partnerships, so any money invested in new technologies comes right from the profits of senior partners.

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