March 27, 2014 - 3:04pm
BY KAITLIN ZURDOSKY
Diana Chen, a 2011 graduate of the University who majored in Political Science and Philosophy is a third-year law student at Loyola University Chicago Law School. She is also the founder of LawStud.io, an online crowdsourcing platform for startups and small businesses to find affordable legal help.
How did you conceptualize the idea of LawStud.io?
I’m in my third year of law school right now and I had the opportunity to work in two different law firms. I saw the inefficiencies of the law firms and thought, “How can we fix these inefficiencies?” A lot of it is a lack of technology that makes things go slower, but, also, I think the market is shifting from large corporations to startups and small businesses.
What did you do to gain insight into your company?
I got involved in the startup community in Chicago and saw the perspective from the business owners, which was that they couldn’t afford legal help. A lot of people don’t understand how important it is to have a lawyer and take steps to prevent themselves from getting into legal trouble. This is a way to help people realize how important it is and also give them an easier way to get it done.
What’s been challenging about LawStud.io?
The most glaring issue is, being an entrepreneur, there is no rule book. You’re learning about it as you go along. That’s what I love about it, but that’s also been one of the most challenging things about it. Another challenging aspect is trying to sell the idea to people, including both attorneys and clients. You would think this is a great service for attorneys, but there’s been push back as well, especially from older attorneys who are more traditional in their way of practicing law. Trying to present all of the benefits to all different groups of people has been a challenge that I’ve been learning more and more how to do.
As a recent graduate, what perspective do you have about the industry you’re in?
In our generation, everybody wants to be an entrepreneur and everybody wants to start a business. It’s great that there is a lot of creativity, but there’s not very much capital that goes into a start up. It’s hard for startups to pay attorneys $500 an hour for basic legal work.
What experiences at Michigan did you bring to your startup experience?
During my time at Michigan, I had the opportunity to get involved. One of those was Zeta Tau Alpha, and another was Michigan Telefund. I started working at Telefund my freshman year and got promoted to student manager position, which was a really good experience for me to be able to take on full responsibility and learn how to lead and manage a team. Also, Michigan is a big school, and you have to be aggressive in getting involved. No one really hands you anything on a plate. Those were all useful skills that helped me do what I’m doing now.