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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jason Nik interview with Ashish Walia of LawTrades


Anyone who has ever had to find a lawyer knows how much of a hassle it can be. Not only do you not know which lawyers are qualified to represent you, but you also have no idea what it's going to cost you until you meet with them. LawTrades changes all of that. The innovative new company makes finding a lawyer more efficient than any other method I have seen before.

I talked with Ashish Walia, COO of LawTrades to share with JNikLC more about the company, his experiences as an up and coming lawyer, and other personal insights on professional success.

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Jason Nik: Joining JNikLC for this interview is Ashish Walia. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Ashish Walia: I'm on the founding team of LawTrades. I was born and raised in Connecticut, but I moved to New York City to attend Saint John's University in Queens. That's where I met our founder Raad back in our undergraduate days. After that, I attended law school and I'm working on finishing up my degree while working on LawTrades.
JN: Tell me about LawTrades.

AW: LawTrades is an on demand service that helps businesses and consumers get legal help. LawTrades takes away all the tedious barriers that get in the way of people trying to get legal help. By making legal services accessible, transparent, and affordable we're really excited about shaking up the legal industry and making it more efficient. We're in major states like New York, California, Texas, Illinois, Washington and Florida.

JN: How does LawTrades differ from other websites with directories for lawyers?


AW: LawTrades is more than just a directory. We have a lot of quality control mechanisms in place so that clients get personalized price quotes and introductions from lawyers that are vetted. Just to walk you through the process, when you go on LawTrades, you submit your job, get price quotes right away and you can pick a lawyer based on a time that works for you! All without ever having to pick up the phone. Everyone values time, and we save clients' time. We're also using technology to make lawyers more accessible.
JN: You all were friends before founding LawTrades. Talk to me about starting a company with friends. I know a lot of people want to work with friends, but have concerns about working with people they're close with. Were there concerns doing a startup with friends? What advice can you give to people who plan to work with friends?
AW: Raad came up with the idea and then I jumped on board. We're a team of three. We all knew each other since college because we pledged the same fraternity. I think that it's much easier to start a company with your friends because when you work for a startup, you're essentially married to your team. You work with them all day, you collaborate, you bounce ideas and you're genuinely working together to make something great. I think it comes down to trust. If you trust your team, then everything else should fall into place. There weren't any concerns with doing a startup with my friends because it was actually the opposite, we knew each other and we knew that we had the skills to compliment each other. The best advice I have is to make sure you can see yourself working with whoever you decide to start your company with. You have to think long term so before you commit yourself to it, just ask yourself "Is this someone I can work with all the time? Is this someone I want to grow a large business with? Is this someone I can trust?"

JN: What other features does LawTrades include and what can we expect to see in the future of LawTrades?


AW: - Booking system so you can book appointments with lawyers online based on your availability.
- Transparent price quotes without ever having to pick up the phone from up to five lawyers that want to help you out.
- Personalized introductions to a vetted community of lawyers.
- We're developing a mobile application, being able to actually process payments on the site for when you actually do need to hire a lawyer on the site.

JN: Everyone knows that networking is a great way to connect with others for professional and personal success. Can you offer some networking tips? How can people make the most of their connections?

AW: I think the most important thing about networking is that you can't go into a networking event looking to immediately find a customer. You have to go to networking events with the intention to establish relationships and to make friends. I think sometimes people automatically get caught up in the idea of going to a networking event and immediately growing their business or finding a job etc. There has to be a willingness to engage with others and build meaningful relationships that will go a much longer way in the future. JN: For the people out there that want to start their own business -- what is the most important piece of advice you can offer them?
AW: I think the most important thing that you should do is validate your idea before you spend thousands of dollars into the business. Validate your idea, go out there and get feedback on what you're trying to build from an objective group of people to see if it's something that people would use. With that feedback and everything you learn while trying to validate the idea you can take that knowledge and grow a business that brings immediate value right away. I think it's important to read a lot about businesses and entrepreneurs, to help you gain the skills necessary to run a business.

JN: What is one thing you did not learn in law school that you wish they taught you?
AW: Law school is very old school in the sense that most of the stuff you learn is theoretical. I wish law school taught me more practical things about actually running a law practice, learning how to get a clients, running a practice etc.
JN: What advice could you give to up and coming lawyers?
AW: Law school can be difficult, time consuming and stressful but like anything in life, you have to embrace the struggle. It only makes you stronger and makes the reward at the end totally worth it!

JN: Ashish, thank you for joining JNikLC and taking the time to tell the readers about LawTrades and the road to success. Are there any projects, websites, or social media you would like the readers to know about?

AW: Stay tuned for our updates! We're working on some exciting stuff. We engage with all of our users so you can follow us on Twitter @lawtrades or like us on Facebook. Your readers can email me to discuss LawTrades anytime at ashish@lawtrades.com


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