Foley & Lardner understands the value it can provide clients beyond traditional legal advice. 

In Foley & Lardner Promotes Legal Technology, I discussed Foley’s innovative extranets. Via Law Technology News (Dec 2006), I learned about Foley’s Private Equity Matchmaker (PEM). According to a Foley press release (10/06), PEM enhances

“the ability of Foley attorneys to refer business opportunities to the firm’s clients… Through its automated search function and deal-matching capability, Private Equity Matchmaker brings together Foley clients from around the world who are seeking capital with those who are actively pursuing private equity investment opportunities, classified as ‘seekers’ and ‘sources,’ respectively… Currently, PEM features 150 sources and more than 50 seekers.”

Other firms may provide investor match-making services informally, but Foley uses proprietary technology to institutionalize, formalize, and deepen this function. Lots of firms can paper a deal, but how many systematically help the client get or invest money?

It’s a great idea but I’m curious about how it works. I suspect lawyers must populate it with leads, which raises the “what’s in it for me” question. If entering a bit of data may help a lawyer’s own clients, that may elicit active participation. In any event, the effort may be minimal. An article in Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology (11/24/06), Legalize IT, quotes a Foley partner: “We all spend plenty of time sitting in on endless conference calls, and this should be something they can do while someone else is doing all the talking. They can enter the information and then move on to the next task.” I think that means the data entry is client billable, which further lowers the threshold to doing it.