Mirra Levitt and Basha Frost Rubin launched Priori Legal two years ago so small businesses could quickly hire lawyers for various legal services.
Evidently, they were onto something: Inbound requests for legal services to Priori Legal -- a website that seamlessly connects small businesses to vetted lawyers in their city -- quadrupled since December 2014.
The business duo got their idea for the website while working in law clinics while attending Yale Law School.
"We saw how difficult it was for both entrepreneurs and small businesses and individuals to connect with reasonably-priced, vetted lawyers," said Levitt, who lives in Boerum Hill.
After they graduated in 2010, the two put their heads together "to tackle the problem of how we could improve the process of finding, comparing and working with lawyers," explained Rubin, who resides in the East Village. "We decided that a transparent marketplace model would be an excellent way for businesses to find the best lawyer at the best possible price for their needs."
Priori Legal customers range from freelance consultants to 1,000-employee software companies. Services they might need include everything from incorporating their business and patenting a product to litigation and establishing employment policies.
Levitt and Rubin launched their service in New York state in 2013, and have since expanded to California, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas.
For lawyers, being selected by Priori Legal is no easy feat. They must have five years experience in the field, pass an online application process, an in-person interview and two professional reference checks.
Ultimately, 20% of the lawyers who apply make it through the application process, Levitt and Rubin said, and they have to maintain a 95% approval rating to remain in the database. However, some of Priori Legal's lawyers have earned more than $100,000 from business they acquired through the site.
It's free for lawyers to be in the database, but they are required to offer their services for at least 25% less than they would outside the site.
For their management fee, Priori Legal charges customers roughly 10% of their overall bill.
The pair plans to expand their business to more states soon. In the meantime, helping entrepreneurs in New York City is especially rewarding, they said.
"It feels really exciting to be able to add a service to a city that has as much going on as New York does, and knowing that we're helping individuals that are just starting out," Levitt said. "It's been really exciting to be a part of the New York fabric."