A case study extracts the key lessons from a single success or failure. A career study strings the cases together, looking for deeper and more fundamental patterns.

This essay is a career study of Robert Meltzer, a highly successful legaltech entrepreneur who is not famous or well-known in legaltech circles, primarily because his success was well under way long before innovation became a hot topic among lawyers. Yet, for those of us who feel like we’re standing at the base of a mountain–and I remain in this group–Bob’s career is rich in insights and perspective.

Meltzer is a lawyer-entrepreneur who lives in Chicago.  He is currently the founder and CEO of Lawyer Exchange, a legal marketplace that matches lawyers looking for project work with lawyers and law firms looking for skilled project labor.  From 1999 to 2015, Meltzer was the founder and CEO of VisaNow, an online platform for processing immigration visas. Prior to that, Meltzer was a partner specializing in cross-border legal work at Arnstein & Lehr (now Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr).

Meltzer and I connected last summer at the suggestion of a long-time friend and law firm consultant. “There’s this guy at my Regus space who’s running a very interesting legal start-up. You ought to meet him for lunch.” Fortunately, I pulled on that string.

Lawyer Exchange is an electronic marketplace that enables lawyers and law firms to more efficiently and transparently contract for project work.  If it works, the buyers of labor pay less and the sellers of labor earn more.  This outcome is possible because the current market intermediaries, primarily staffing agencies, enjoy a large industry-standard mark-up without providing much in the way of value-added services. Further, due to the superior buyer-seller economics, this market is sure to grow.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Lawyer Exchange is a complex business that requires intimate working knowledge of lots of tiny parts. Where did that knowledge come from? Also, Lawyer Exchange is far removed the legal market that caters to the Fortune 1000, which is the target market of so many lawyers and legal entrepreneurs looking to get rich. In trying to identify the best starting point for his fledgedly lawyer-to-lawyer business, why did Meltzer believe that downmarket was the best place to start?

It took several lunches with Meltzer to grasp the unusual nature of his story; and another two-hour stint in my “How Innovation Diffuses in the Legal Industry” class at Northwestern Law to fully draw it out.  Afterwards several students told me, “This was the single most valuable lecture of my law school career.”  I agree, as I choose Bob Meltzer as my first career study.


Distilling it down, Meltzer’s career can be broken into four distinct parts.

  • Part I is the story of VisaNow, a legaltech start-up founded by Meltzer in 1998.  In 2014, a majority interest was sold to private equity investors, see “VisaNow Raises $22.1M Led by General Catalyst for Immigration Services,” WSJ Pro, Venture Capital, Nov. 12, 2014, providing an excellent exit for Meltzer’s original angel and VC investors.
  • Part II is Meltzer’s early legal career. This is a portrait of how an innovator sees the world and makes choices. It’s also a career path that early- and late-majority lawyers will struggle to understand.
  • Part III is a careful analysis of the single most important insight of the VisaNow case study — an insight grounded in diffusion of innovation theory that, unfortunately, most legal entrepreneurs will learn the hard way.
  • Part IV reviews how and why Meltzer built Lawyer Exchange.  If you were unfamiliar with Parts I-III of Meltzer’s story, you’d fail to understand the potential of a business that, from far away, looks unsexy but nonetheless creates the infrastructure for the emerging gig economy for lawyers.

I. VisaNow

Bob Meltzer’s bona fides as an legal innovator are fully established through the founding, growth, and sale of a company called VisaNow (recently renamed Envoy Global), an online platform for preparing and filing visa applications. Thus, rather than visiting an office or calling a lawyer, clients upload relevant information and check the status of their application through the VisaNow website.

The story begins in Chicago in the late 1997 when Meltzer was a partner at Arnstein & Lehr with a practice focused on cross-border transactions. As his practice grew, more and more clients were making inquiries about immigration and visa-related issues.  At the time, the standard practice was to refer the work to specialized immigration boutiques.  Meltzer believed that most of the firm’s international clients preferred a “one-stop shop.” Thus, he lobbied the firm’s executive committee to create an immigration practice, which they agreed to do if Meltzer ran it.

(a) repetitive work

To build the practice, Meltzer hired Melissa Garber, a young lawyer with immigration law experience.  By the end of 1997, Meltzer’s theory was vindicated, as immigration matters quickly grew to nearly half of his total book of business. Yet, he very much disliked the repetitive nature of the work. Indeed, that disdain quickly led to the idea for VisaNow. Meltzer recalls the exact moment of inspiration.

“Every once in a while there would be something that would change in immigration. Either the law would change, or the process would change. And the applicants would all find out about it and contact the office, asking ‘What does this mean to me?'”

In late 1997, one of those days happened. “I said to Melissa and the paralegals, ‘Hey everybody, the phone’s going to ring off the hook today.'”  Meltzer recalls later that day passing by the paralegal offices. “One of them’s on the phone with a client telling him about the new law. The next one, I go by her office, same thing there. I go by Melissa’s office, and she’s also on the phone handling the same issue. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, this is such a waste. There’s got to be a better way to do this.'”

Meltzer than walks into his office.  And on his computer is an email from a client asking the same question.  “At the time, email was something new to the firm. So I thought, ‘Hey, they sent it to me by email, I’ll answer it by email. Might be easier.'” So Meltzer typed out the answer, which he recalls was pretty good and concise because he actually wrote it rather than talking it through.

“I hit the send button. And as soon as I sent it, another client sends me another email asking me the same question.  And for a second there, I said to myself, ‘I can’t believe I have to answer this question all over again.’ … Until it hit me, ‘I just had to copy the other email.'”

According to Meltzer, that’s when the whole idea of VisaNow came into his mind. If client inquiries came in digitally, they could be answered digitally, without any human having to touch them. This could be better and cheaper for the client and also more profitable for the firm.

Meltzer ran into Garber’s office and said, “I’ve got this great idea:  Put the whole thing online where people have to ask us the questions online.” Garber responded with complete enthusiasm, perhaps because she was the lawyer processing all of this highly repetitive work. Garber wanted to help Meltzer build this new type of immigration practice.  Quips Meltzer, “We joke, if Melissa had reacted to my idea with skepticism, VisaNow never would have happened.”

(b) different business model

Meltzer took the idea to the firm’s leadership, asking for $10,000 to build the online platform.  Meltzer pointed out that by making it an online service, the immigration work could be much more profitable.  Although clients would be charged less, the profit margin of each visa application would actually go up. The leadership struggled to understand the business model–primarily the concept of less revenue but higher profit–and turned down his request.

Meltzer said, “Fine, I’ll take all the risk. I’ll build this outside the firm. We can subcontract our visa application work to this company. In turn, the margins in my immigration practice will go up.” The firm’s leadership agreed to this arrangement.  Within the year, however, they realized that Meltzer was on to something big. But by then, it was too late. VisaNow was growing so fast that Meltzer left the firm to focus on the business.

One of the pivotal moments in the early days of VisaNow was a call Meltzer received from someone in the HR department at the Tribune Company who asked, “Can we use this tool to process our visas?” Up until that point, Meltzer presumed that the typical user would an individual seeking an employment-based or family-based visa.  “I never really thought about companies coming and using VisaNow themselves.” Thus, Meltzer started building out a sales and marketing team focused on businesses.

VisaNow header, Source: Glantz Design

As online products and services became more accepted and prevalent, VisaNow was able to get sales meetings with bigger potential clients.  In 2006, VisaNow landed a $100K+ monthly contract with a big telecom company, which resulted in some of the sales team receiving very sizeable commission checks. “After that,” recalls Meltzer, “the sales team became fixated on very large clients. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a rabbit hole because, on average, it dramatically elongated our sales cycle and put us into head-to-head competition with the big immigration firms.”

Finding his way out of that rabbit hole eventually led to three consecutive years of 100%+ per year growth in sales, making VisaNow highly attractive to private equity investors. Meltzer claims that the insight that caused VisaNow’s tremendous 2011 to 2014 growth spurt is closely connected to his decision to start Lawyer Exchange.  It is also an insight that is entirely consistent with diffusion theory, particularly as applied to the legal sector — a topic explored more deeply in Part III.

Part II. Meltzer’s early legal career

When Meltzer agreed to come to my “How Innovation Diffuses in the Legal Industry” class at Northwestern Law this past fall, I told him the same thing as other guests, “Start your story at the same time in your life as the students.” The idea is to make it easier for the students to see the world through the eyes of the innovator.

(a) law school

In Meltzer’s case, he’s been following his own logic since his early 20s, starting with his decision to attend Northern Illinois University’s College of Law (NIU Law).  The law school at Lewis University in Glen Ellyn, Illinois had recently been acquired by Northern Illinois University.  In 1982, as part of its rebranding efforts, Northern Illinois moved the law school to its Dekalb campus (65 miles due west of Chicago) and hired several faculty members who specialized in international law. Impressed by the school’s international law vision but otherwise knowing very little about the legal field, Meltzer enrolled.

Meltzer was a sufficiently diligent student to land a summer position at Mayer Brown & Platt, one of Chicago’s most renowned corporate law firms.  This was during an era when summer associates worked grueling hours shoulder-to-shoulder with the regular associates. Further, the scut work was routinely given to the most junior person. The experience was far removed from Meltzer’s expectations.

“I thought I had picked the wrong profession,” Meltzer tells the class.  “And it was bothering me.  So when I got back to school in the fall, I went and saw the dean, letting him know that I might need to drop out.  The dean then reminded me that my pursuit was really international law, and that I haven’t taken any of those classes yet because there were all upper-level electives. He said, ‘stay here, take some of the international law classes and see how it goes. And then make your decision.'”

According to Meltzer, that proved to be profoundly good advice. “I started taking international law courses and loved every minute of every class.” Like a true innovator, Meltzer gushes, “I had found a very interesting area, a new area, something that excited me.”  Cf. Post 007 (noting that archetypal innovator “places a high value of venturesomeness”).

For the summer between his 2L and 3L year, Meltzer’s professors connect him with unique summer opportunities in Europe. The first is a 6-week course at Henry Dunant Institute in Geneva, Switzerland to obtain a certificate in Humanitarian Law (per Meltzer, a euphemism for the Law of War). The second is a 6-week course at the Institute De Internationale Droits De L’Homme in Strasbourg, France to obtain a certification in Human Rights Law.

(b) “I’m an experienced international lawyer”

Upon graduation, Meltzer sits for the Illinois Bar. “The second day of the bar was, like, July 31.  On August 1, I got on a plane to go back to Europe to attend an LLM program in International Business Transactions offered by University of Salzburg in Austria in conjunction with the McGeorge School of Law.”  Part of that program is an entree to paid internships with organizations with an international focus. “So right after the LLM, I go to my first job, which is with the legal staff of the World Health Organization in Geneva.”  Cf. Post 007 (noting that the innovator’s interest in new ideas “leads them out of conventional peer networks into more far-flung social and professional circles”).

After roughly a year in Europe, Meltzer returns to U.S. believing that he finally has the credentials to break into international law.  “So I get back, and I go to Mayer Brown and tell my connections there, ‘I’ve got experience as an international lawyer; I’d like a job at the firm doing international law.’  They reply that Mayer Brown doesn’t have a practice in international law, that international law is just a matter of taxation.”

Meltzer makes a similar pitch to other Chicago law firms, and gets similar responses, albeit with a few job offers to join as a corporate associate.  “It’s late 1986 and nobody is really thinking about international law as its own field of practice. I was like, ‘why doesn’t anybody take the risk?’ And then I said it to myself enough times that I concluded, ‘I need to take the risk.’ So I opened up my own practice.”

LaSalle Street in the winter, Credit: Usman Khan, Unsplash

Meltzer’s first priority, of course, is to get some clients. Meltzer recounts, “It was the end of ’86, the winter, and I walked up and down LaSalle Street going in and out of foreign banks. I introduced myself by handing them my new business card and asking if I could talk to somebody, and telling them that I was an international lawyer. That’s how it started.”

Students listening to Meltzer’s lecture are taken aback by his extraordinary nerve. They struggle to image themselves making in-person cold calls to launch their careers, perhaps assuming that a graduate degree is, or ought to be, an impenetrable shield against such indignities.

Yet, Meltzer’s instincts were right: many of the bank officials were happy to have a sit-down. Meltzer recalls, “It was only about a month before I got my first client from that activity. It came from a bank based in the Philippines.”

(c) growing an international law practice

Over the next five years, Meltzer builds a successful and growing law practice focused primarily on cross-border trade. Meltzer gives the example of a client who is importing $3 million worth of marble for a large construction job in the Loop. “My foreign clients aren’t sure how to get the marble to the port. And then they want to get paid before the marble is released, but the U.S. buyers don’t want to pay until the marble shows up on the job.”

Initially it was lots of trade deals, mostly from Europe.  During the mid-80s, most international commerce relied upon very complex and cumbersome documents prepared by banks because, essentially, banks were the only trusted intermediaries. However, to speed up deals, lawyers were gradually figuring out how to draft contracts that would be enforceable in the jurisdictions of both the buyers and sellers. Thus, seeing greater competition on the horizon, in 1991 Meltzer merges his practice into Katz, Randall & Weinberg, a medium-sized Chicago firm trying to build out its business group. Meltzer describes this as a beneficial transition but soon realizes he needs to be inside a larger firm representing larger pool of business clients. That’s how Meltzer ends up at Arnstein & Lehr, a 120-lawyer firm representing several major Chicago businesses.

At the same time that Meltzer is making his way as a law firm partner, he’s developing a strategy of helping U.S. companies do business in China, as Deng Xiaoping had begun the China’s move to a partial market-based economy.  “So by the end of the ’80s,” Meltzer tells the class, “I put myself out as a US-China lawyer. By 1990, I’m doing business in China and starting to travel there.”

By the mid-’90s, the endpoint of these efforts is an international law practice that is 80% focused on US-Chinese trade. Some of it is representing U.S. businesses trying to sell into China. But much to Meltzer’s surprise, his “bread and butter” becomes Chinese companies wanting to come to the United States — a client base ideally suited for a secondary offering in immigration law.

As I close this early career case study, it’s worth noting that Meltzer has all the hallmarks of an Innovator.  Everett Rogers reminds us, “The salient value of the innovator is venturesomeness, due to a desire for the rash, the daring, and the risky.” Further, while Innovators (~2.5% of a social system) tend to be viewed with skepticism by mainstream peers, they nonetheless serve “a gatekeeping role in the flow of new ideas into a system.” Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed. 2003) at 282-83.

III. VisaNow’s long road to sudden success

After Meltzer’s firm declines his request for $10,000 to build an online platform for processing immigration visas, Meltzer and Garber, his sole immigration lawyer, decide to bootstrap a freestanding business outside the firm.

(a) venture funding

Fortunately, the founding of VisaNow coincides with the first wave of Internet businesses and a funding mania in Silicon Valley.  In 1999, Meltzer takes a call from a friend in San Francisco who encourages him to travel to the Bay Area to meet with potential investors. Once out in California, his colleagues urge Meltzer to pitch his business to Guy Kawasaki of Garage.com, one of Silicon Valley’s most renowned venture capitalists.

Meltzer recalls a phone call placed in early 2000 when he managed to get past the gatekeeper and leave a 15-second voicemail.  “And remarkably, Kawasaki calls me back.  Within two weeks I was out there, and within the first 15 minutes, Kawasaki says, ‘I love it and want to support it.'” At the time, Meltzer had a couple of angel investors, but Garage.com was his first VC fund.

With Kawasaki’s help, Meltzer raises a total of $4 million in outside investment, which “was more than I needed.”  As a result, Garber, who had just graduated from law school in 1996, had the opportunity to exit the business with a substantial payout — an outcome that, at the time, would have been unthinkable and absurd to most young lawyers.

The phone call from the Tribune Company in 1999 had the effect of orienting Meltzer toward business clients. Thus, with several millions on the balance sheet, Meltzer focuses on building a sales and marketing team to educate companies on VisaNow’s superior solution.

(b) getting distracted

During the first several years of operation, VisaNow adds customers but not at the hockey stick rate desired by Meltzer and his investors. Then in 2006, something bad happens that at the time seemed good: “We sign Cingular Wireless [now AT&T Mobility},” recalls Meltzer, “which meant hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in revenue and, frankly, big commission checks. As a result, everyone in the company starts chasing the big enterprise deals.”

In hindsight, Meltzer laughs, “During the early and mid-2000s, we brought in a lot of small companies that became big companies, like Salesforce.  We had GoPro when it was under 15 people and Twitter when they had a workforce of eight. These companies would do a few visas a year.  Then we landed Cingular and the whole company got distracted.”

Meltzer began to see a pattern that became all too familiar.  The bigger and more established the company, the more likely that VisaNow could impress the folks in purchasing.  In turn, that would get them a meeting with the VP of Human Resources, who usually got the job by coming up the ranks through a large corporation and thus had pretty fixed ideas about immigration should be handled.

“More often than not,” explains Meltzer, “this put us head-to-head with law firm incumbents, who might be charging $5 million a year to handle all the company’s immigration work.  We claim we can do it better, faster, and more transparently for $1.5 million. Then the law firm comes down to $2.0 million and keeps the account — that’s how much fat there was on the bone.  Further, it was a riskless way for the head of HR to look like a hero.”

(c) same product, more sales

In 2011, Meltzer and his board make the decision that the company will no longer go after large enterprise clients.  Instead, they’ll focus on small and medium-sized businesses where VisaNow is universally perceived as a cost-effective solution that takes work off the plates of busy owners and managers. Further, potential customers are very easy to identify, as Meltzer and his team use Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to obtain the names and application volume of all of the companies filing for employment-based visas.

“For virtually all of these companies, we had a better solution. Once we made that transition,” said Meltzer, “we doubled our new business every year for three years in a row.”

[click on to enlarge]
In many respects, VisaNow’s shift in target clientele was akin to a natural experiment to assess the relative importance of two different types of innovation adoption decisions. As noted in Post 008, the perceived attributes of an innovation — relative advantage, low complexity, cultural compatibility, trialability, and observability — tend to be the most influential factors for determining adoption (see above graphic).

Yet, the type of innovation decision is another key variable affecting the innovation adoption rate. Per Rogers’ model, there are three types of innovation decisions:  (1) an optional decision, such as a market, where individuals exercise their own choice; (2) a collective decision, where adoption depend upon group consensus (think law firm); and (3) an authority-based decision, where in theory one person or a small group acts on behalf of the organization, but the quality of the decision is often riven with agency costs, as managers and executives are reluctant to be second-guessed by co-workers favoring the status quo. Cf. Post 023 (quoting Geoffrey Moore, “the more you spend time with mainstream customers, the more you see how relentlessly they pursue this conspiracy to sustain market leaders”).

From 2006 to 2010, VisaNow points its superior product at large organizations where the adoption decisions are primarily authority-based. Notwithstanding enormous effort poured into sales and marketing, the return on investment is modest. Then, from 2011 to 2014, the same product is pointed at smaller organizations where a single busy owner or manager has the power to make a fast buy decision. The result is three consecutive years of 100% sales growth.

Meltzer believes that VisaNow’s downmarket strategy was one of the single greatest insights of this career.  Having found a formula that worked, he was finally in a position to engineer a high-quality exit for his angel and VC investors, many of whom had grown wary of VisaNow’s long period of incubation.

Unfortunately, as I survey the legaltech landscape circa 2019, I see a large number of entrepreneurs travelling to various legal industry trade shows in the hope of selling their innovative point solution to large enterprise clients. In many cases, these entrepreneurs are right that their product will, if adopted, deliver substantial value. But they’re likely wrong that they can overcome all the internal obstacles that exist in large, bureaucratic organizations.

There are definitely ways to crack the code. See, e.g., Post 024 (discussion of a “whole product solution” that can overwhelm incumbent providers); Post 025 (discussing Geoffrey Moore’s painstaking process of identifying a market niche and creating buyer personas); Post 063 (Jae Um mapping out the complexity, cost, patience, and access to users needed to thread the needle). But building sales channels from scratch is very difficult, expensive, and risky. Thus, it’s worth asking, “How much ego do we have invested in having Fortune 500 clients?”  In the case of Bob Meltzer, the answer was very little.  Instead, he took VisaNow downmarket and got rich.

In 2016, Meltzer exercised his buy-out option and exited VisaNow management. If he were still running the company, his eventual target market would have been family-based visas, partly because the family-based market is seven times larger; but mostly because a B2C product does not require an expensive sales team that has to work months or years to dislodge an incumbent law firm. Instead, with a modicum of marketing, the superior B2C product starts to sell itself based on referrals within the social system.

IV. Lawyer Exchange

After leaving VisaNow, Meltzer spent roughly a year contemplating his next move. After hitting upon the lawyer marketplace idea, he spends another six months carefully analyzing all the moving parts. In early 2017, he greenlights the idea and starts building Lawyer Exchange.

(a) SmallLaw

In a nutshell, Lawyer Exchange matches law firms seeking support with attorneys seeking work and mentorship.  Law firms post projects, and in response lawyers make proposals to do the work, highlighting their qualifications, experience, completion date, and price. Sounds simple, right?

Yet, once again Meltzer is focused on a downmarket strategy.  The 200 largest U.S. law firms (AmLaw 200) employ 100,000+ lawyers who generate $100 billion per year in revenues. It is also the segment that garners the most headlines in the legal press.  The remainder of the legal services market (another $170-80 billion) is spread across 165,000 law firms with an average of fewer than five lawyers per firm.  Lawyer Exchange is designed to be a solution for this SmallLaw segment, where lawyers serve primarily individual and small business clients, often on a volume basis to make the economics works.

For the owners of small firms that are enjoying a surplus of work, Lawyer Exchange provides an opportunity to earn a profit without taking on the risk and expense of permanent employees.  For project lawyers, some of whom are trying to start their own practice, they can seek out work that will enable them to build out a specialization. Below is a graphic the describe the workflow for both buyer and seller on the Lawyer Exchange platform:

[click on to enlarge]
Meltzer also sees secondary benefits that are likely to follow a series of successful and mutually beneficial projects, including mentorship for junior lawyers and potential buyers of law practices for successful senior lawyers.

(b) legal marketplaces

For Meltzer, one of his points of market validation is the large number of legal entrepreneurs who are also building lawyer marketplaces.  See, e.g., Danielle Braff, “Freelance attorneys benefit from growing demand,” ABA Journal (Apr 2019) (discussing rise of several companies, including Lawyer Exchange, that “connect freelance lawyers with law firms”). Further, because the market for legal work is so varied by client type, jurisdiction, and substantive area of law, very few of these entrants directly compete with Lawyer Exchange.

“At least at this stage,” says Meltzer, “The various platforms tend to complement each other,” citing the example of MPlace, which specializes in matching lawyers with large-scale document review jobs. “Even on a platform that has roughly the small target market [citing his most direct competitor}, we already see communities of buyers and sellers that are oriented around specific areas of law in specific jurisdictions.”  As a result, Meltzer believes that many gig lawyers will be active on more than one platform.  That said, assuming each platform carefully manages its fees and user experience, as these networks based on geography and specialization grow, there won’t be much advantage for buyers and sellers to relocate to another marketplace, making these platforms very good operating businesses.  That is certainly Meltzer’s hope.

(c) due diligence

For students who attended Meltzer’s two-hour lecture, perhaps the most sobering part of the evening was seeing the depth and rigor of Meltzer analysis before he decided to launch Lawyer Exchange, a process that lasted nearly six months. Not only is Meltzer a big thinker, but he has the obsessive attention to detail of a successful business operator. Suffice it to say, this is combination of skills and mindset that few people possess.

A good example is the life cycle of the attorney/client relationship, which Meltzer breaks into four phases:

In slide after slide, Meltzer meticulously lays out the key activities in each phase with the hope of identifying a flaw or inefficiency in how the current market is working:

  • Prospecting includes free advice, initial consultations, online rating and reviews. referrals, marketing, and workshops/seminar.
  • Engagement includes a fee/retainer agreement, initial review, documents review, document and data/information transmittal, and initial payment.
  • Services include document and data/information transmittal, drafting, filing, appearances, meetings, negotiations, hearings, trials, billing/payments, case management, research.
  • Post-delivery includes final billing/payment, referrals to/from, escrow, reminders, tracking, marketing.

Next, Meltzer turns his lens on the legaltech market, segmenting it into six different verticals.

Source: Bob Meltzer, Lawyer Exchange [click on to enlarge]
Then, after conducting the above analysis, Meltzer goes even deeper, carefully studying the products, services, business model and traction of every relevant legaltech company in every vertical.

Finally, as Meltzer hones in on the idea for Lawyer Exchange, his research reveals that the decision to hire a lawyers in either the B2B or B2C space turns on six factors, in order of importance: (1) expertise, (2) quality of service, (3) quality of relationship, (4) knowledge of personal and business needs, (5) geography, and (6) price.  A high-quality online marketplace enables buyers and sellers to by-pass staffing agencies and find a match that more accurately fits their wants and needs.


So far, Lawyer Exchange is hitting its key growth metrics. And because of the financial success of VisaNow, Meltzer can afford to bootstrap Lawyer Exchange and remain patience.  Meltzer describes it as “a pure marketing play,” where the goal is to get buyers and sellers to visit and try out the platform. “If they have a good experience, they’ll come back.”