Kimball Dean Parker. Photo by Benjamin Hager/ABA Journal
Kimball Dean Parker’s first legal technology business was not a moneymaker. But it planted a seed.
CO/COUNSEL, launched in 2015, was an attempt to crowdsource detailed explanations of the law, mapping out specific practice areas, both visually and in writing. It is still around and getting contributions—Parker says it’s especially popular with law professors—but it didn’t go anywhere financially.
Instead, it launched Parker’s legal tech career.
One law professor who liked and used CO/COUNSEL was Gordon Smith, dean of Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. In 2016, Smith asked Parker to help him launch an entrepreneurial legal technology clinic at the school, aimed at solving one big legal challenge each fall semester.
“I thought the hardest part is to get somebody who will be excited to teach this. And I remembered Kimball,” Smith says.
For the inaugural challenge in the fall of 2017, the students created SoloSuit, an online tool to help defendants file a response to debt collection lawsuits.
Parker says it meets a real need in Utah, where 70,000 debt collection lawsuits are filed every year.
The response amazed them. SoloSuit received more visitors to its website in a month than they’d expected for the year.
Parker’s law firm at the time, Parsons Behle & Latimer, asked him to try something similar there, so he and his business partner, Lincoln Porter, put together a tool that could help businesses automate part of their efforts to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, a landmark privacy law that went into effect in May 2018 and affects any business that might have EU customers.
“It was profitable in like three or four weeks. It brought in tons of clients into the firm,” Parker, 35, says.
And that’s how Parker came to the attention of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, which launched a software subsidiary, SixFifty, in February with Parker as president and Porter as CTO. SixFifty makes the same sort of automated tools, but backed with the expertise and financial resources of a BigLaw firm. The goal is to make legal services more efficient and affordable—something not necessarily aimed at Wilson Sonsini clients. In fact, Parker sees his job as expanding access to high-quality legal expertise for all. SixFifty’s first project along those lines will be similar to Parker’s GDPR tool; only this time, it’s aimed at compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act, which will affect businesses across the U.S. when it goes into effect Jan. 1.
After the CCPA tool, SixFity plans to turn its attention to pro bono, with help from idea innovator LawX and the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. That project is Hello Landlord, which will automate the creation of forms for self-represented people facing eviction.
“There’s one theme with them, which is making kind of top-level legal expertise available to as many people as possible,” says Parker, who lives in Salt Lake with his wife and two children.