• 2019 Duke Law Tech Lab

    As in the past, the Duke Law Tech Lab offers remote resources to early-stage legal tech companies based in the United States.

    In 2019, we're adding an online space to build community, increase peer to peer connection, and host resources.

    All Selected Companies

    Online Community

    All selected participants will join our online community of legal tech entrepreneurs to access content, resources, and discussion forums.


    Content will include topics such as: the legal tech ecosystem, customer acquisition, product design and validation, mentorship and advisory boards, strategy, sustainable growth, and leadership and management.


    This community will be centered around the needs of companies with a traditional market emphasis who are interested in connecting with peers and legal tech leaders.

    Companies Increasing Access to Legal Services

    Online Community + Additional Support

    For companies emphasizing the creation of new markets to expand access to legal services, we plan to provide additional, bespoke support in addition to the above online community.


    This small number of selected companies working to increase access to legal services will be given a micro grant and access to live remote sessions with peers and guest speakers on Wednesdays from 7-8 pm Eastern. These access-focused teams will receive additional tailored content, connections to mentors based on each team's highly individualized needs, and the opportunity to compete at The Duke Law Tech Lab Demo Day on Friday, September 20, 2019 for additional monetary prizes.


    Additional questions specific to access to legal services will be required on the online application for qualified companies interested in the bespoke program. This subset of teams do not need to be operating as a nonprofit, but must have increasing access to legal services as a key aspect of their mission. Read more about what we mean by access to legal services.

  • Timeline



    Submit online

    by 11:59 pm on May 5



    Applications reviewed



    Selected applicants notified by May 20



    Starts week of June 7


    Demo Day

    Friday, September 20 in Durham, NC

  • Additional Details

    The Duke Law Tech Lab (DLTL) is a program of the Duke Center on Law & Tech at Duke University School of Law.

    Goals for 2019

    The 2019 Duke Law Tech Lab will:

    • foster new online learning communities among legal tech entrepreneurs

    • connect an increased number of early stage legal tech startup companies with valuable information and tools to help expand their access to the legal tech market

    • provide unique and individualized support along with grant funding to a subset of mission-driven companies aimed at increasing access to legal services

    As in the past, the Duke Law Tech Lab will not require any equity from any company associated with our program and its opportunities.


    As a “light-touch” pre-accelerator, we do not ask anything burdensome of participating teams but encourage teams to make the most of the resources and connections we provide. We have found that the teams with the greatest self-awareness of their strengths and growing edges and who are willing to take advantage of what we have to offer have been the most successful, during and after our program.

    History & Mission

    Our mission is to help your startup thrive by building community among legal tech entrepreneurs and providing access to high-quality content needed by many early stage founders and teams who may be leading their first entrepreneurial venture.


    By harnessing our entrepreneurial ecosystem in legal and civic tech, we help founders learn from each other, legal tech leaders, subject-matter experts, and key industry players.


    Past teams from our first two cohorts have seen success such as:

    • increased users,
    • acceptance into a residential accelerator,
    • substantial start-up funding from third-party investors,
    • the founding of advisory boards, and
    • beta tests of their products in new markets.

    In 2019, the DLTL will continue channeling its resources to the greatest needs in the legal tech ecosystem - specifically, the needs of early-stage legal tech companies - and expand its commitment to increasing access to legal services.


    Applications closed on Sunday, May 5, 2019.

    For International Companies

    In order to provide the best support to our participants possible, we are only accepting US-based companies for our Duke Law Tech Lab program in 2019.


    If your company is based outside of the United States, we would still love to connect with you!


    We will be hosting our second virtual International Legal Tech Summit in fall 2019 and would love to feature your company. Please fill out this form to let us know about your company and we will get in touch with you.

    Demo Day

    Demo Day is an exciting opportunity to showcase new and innovative legal tech products in front of other #legaltech leaders. It is a celebration event involving other entrepreneurs, technologists, lawyers of all stripes, big law firm management, investor networks, and many more.


    The Duke Law Tech Lab pays for hotel and air travel for at least one representative of each access to legal services team (usually the team leader) to attend the Demo Day.


    Learn more about our past Demo Day events.

  • What do we mean by increasing access to legal services?

    We are particularly interested in innovative companies who are working to expand market-based access to legal services for people in the middle - those who do not qualify for reduced fee or free legal services, nor those who are able to afford the traditional fee for services. We hope to help create viable markets for legal tech tools that close the access gap for this key constituency.


    We saw great progress in this area by our 2018 teams:

    • Smart Lien is an online service for contractors, tradesmen, labor providers, and material suppliers that allows them to assert their lien rights and create paperless contracts for a flat-rate, one-time fee. In 10 minutes or less and for a low fee, individuals can file a lien or create a contract in under 10 minutes from a mobile device. Smart Lien attorneys create the lien documents, serve them by FedEx on the property owner and general contractor, and have your lien recorded with the appropriate county register of deeds - within 5 business days, guaranteed.

    • Disputly provides fast recovery of your California security deposit.

    We also encourage companies to apply for this subset of the Duke Law Tech Lab who are aiming to increase the efficiency or effectiveness of reduced fee or free legal services.

  • Why work with us?

    We continue to evolve the Duke Law Tech Lab to help address the most pressing challenges facing early stage legal tech companies:

    • Many of our teams are founded or led by lawyers (not serial entrepreneurs, MBAs, or technologists) who have seen a gap or need in the legal profession and are developing a solution.

    • The market for legal tech products, both BTB and BTC, is unique and continually evolving as more individuals, governments, and companies embrace the use of technology in the legal and civic sectors.

    • While many startup founders in all industries feel it is a lonely road, legal tech entrepreneurs are in particular need of support from other legal tech leaders.

    The DLTL provides a platform for our teams to engage with legal tech leaders, law firms, justice system stakeholders, student interns, angel investors, venture capitalists, innovators, influencers, and others from Duke University's extensive network.