Social media giant, LinkedIn, is to launch its own lawyer marketplace that will be integrated into a wider professional services finder offering, a well-placed source close to the company told Artificial Lawyer, as the UpCounsel story reached its next chapter.
‘Linkedin is going to offer a legal marketplace as part of a wider formalised offering for professional services,’ the source told this site.
This had always been the plan and would have been announced sooner, they added, had not legal wrangles late last year and at the beginning of this year, made that a challenge.
This group will be staffed by members of the former UpCounsel team, most of whom have moved to LinkedIn. Meanwhile, as has been announced, a re-launched ‘UpCounsel’ will also exist at the same time, with different owners, following the purchase of assets from ‘UpCounsel Inc.’ by the holding company Enduring Ventures, which intends to run the business as it had operated before. The two marketplace offerings will be separate.
The source explained that the legal wrangles had meant that the founding team of UpCounsel moving to LinkedIn could not easily be talked about and that the new legal marketplace – which taps the former UpCounsel team’s expertise and staff – will be folded into a larger operation that goes far beyond lawyers. The new LinkedIn platform will not be called UpCounsel, which is a relief.
Aside from the corporate complexity, on face value this is all about mainstream tech companies, in this case a social media company that also does a lot of work in the recruitment area, expanding into helping people to find lawyers.
Given the company’s vast resources and reach, this could have a significant impact eventually.
However, LinkedIn is not a stranger to this approach, and has already built its own Profinder platform to help you to engage ‘trustworthy freelancers’, which includes helping to find ‘legal consultants’ – but also includes everything from freelance photographers to software testers.
The source reiterated that the newly launching LinkedIn marketplace platform will have a strong focus on professional services, as opposed to just any kind of freelance service. They would not expand on how this overlapped/would integrate with Profinder, and we’ll have to wait and see how that works out.
Meanwhile, Danny Page, Director of Operations at the newly restarted UpCounsel business, told Artificial Lawyer: ‘We have acquired UpCounsel’s assets, and the team that was in place before are not part of this.’
Page added that they had a ‘solid list of attorneys’ who wanted to be part of the newly restarted business and they plan to grow and develop UpCounsel to its former glory and beyond.
He concluded that this had all happened quite quickly for them, but that they are focused on improving the client experience for people who need to access a lawyer.
So, does this put an end to the UpCounsel saga? Perhaps. Although, this story has always been shrouded in mystery, largely because LinkedIn didn’t want to say too much until it had dealt with a number of legal battles.
The source added that an official announcement about LinkedIn’s plans will likely come out after Easter.