UpCounsel, operating since 2012 and having raised US$26 million, is ceasing operations. The San Francisco based company’s promise was, “whether you need a one-time consult or an entire freelance legal department, UpCounsel’s network of over 5,000 experienced lawyers has you covered.”

The official announcement states: “Pursuant to a decision approved by our board of directors and shareholders, the UpCounsel website will be shut down permanently on March 4, 2020 ….. We will share further details with you as they become available.”

It seemed like a winning formula:

  • Receive custom proposals within hours
  • Save up to 60% compared to law firms
  • Pay only for quality legal work

It was early-starter in its category of freelance / gig lawyering and it was very well funded. It is impossible to wave goodbye to this company without considering what may have led to this.

Could it be that too many competitors entered this category, especially similar services set up by law firms? Perhaps there was a difficulty in matching talent to the work that was in demand. Perhaps clients were unrealistic in what they expected to receive from this service. Perhaps it was not good value compared to the (reformed) offerings of law firms. Perhaps we will eventually find out what happened.