Friday, April 24, 2009

Wilson Sonsini Term Sheet Generator

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (I'll always remember growing up hearing about them just as "Wilson Sonsini" from the lawyer in my family) has released a Term Sheet Generator for venture financing . . . free of charge. I played around with it and have to admit that it's extremely comprehensive; not only is it practically valuable, but simply seeing the process, going through all of the questions, and reading the comprehensive explanations seems to be a worthwhile exercise for anyone seeking venture funding. What was especially interesting in the generator was the fact that it highlights the most common question response, making it infinitely easier to evaluate the right decision as opposed to hoping that you are choosing the correct response.

Why would Wilson Sonsini do this? It's not really costing them anything -- by their own admission, it is a web-based, generic version of a tool that they already use in-house. Maybe the end result will work for some venture money, but my guess is that there's enough that's generic that you may need to call Wilson Sonsini for advice and/or customization: give away the artifact (i.e., the term sheet) and make your money on the resultant service. Will some other attorneys use this and charge their clients for it? Probably. But my guess is that Wilson Sonsini is not after the clients that would go to those types of attorneys.

I think there's a massive paradigm shift that needs to happen in the field of law. Instead of charging hours to create what are essentially templated forms, agreements, contracts, etc., why not just sell the template for, say, $200? Buy some Google AdWords and advertise for very little per month, especially if you are selling a very specialized document. People can buy the template 24/7/365 from your website and if it's good enough as is, then you are still making money while you sleep and the purchaser feels like they got a good value. However, if the purchaser needs further advice or reviewed changes or some other service related to the document, then you can work out an hourly (flat?) fee for the services. I would recommend taking it a step further and setting up your site with a blog and an opt-in e-mail list where visitors can receive a once or twice monthly newsletter with tips and information (that send them back to your site for the things that you are selling).

Someone's going to figure this out and Wilson Sonsini's starting the trend.

Hell, if you're an attorney that wants to take a crack at doing something like I described, drop me a note and I'd be glad to partner and help you.


Picture from The Doctr

1 comment:

Eric Hasslecorn said...

I think you make a good point. Also check out the new paradigm out there called a virtual law firm. In particular firms like Rimon Law Group ( seem to be coming out with interesting pricing models and relatively unique firm structure that they claim removes overhead costs. Virtual Law Partners and Axiom also seem interesting ...