With his award-winning startup, Ryan Alshak (JD 2013) seeks to transform the way lawyers work
By Julie Riggott
|Ryan Alshak (JD '13)
What is the bane of every lawyer’s existence? Certainly one of them is keeping track of billable hours.
Lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Ryan Alshak JD ’13 saw this problem as a business opportunity — and a way to make a difference. He quit a BigLaw job two years ago to launch Ping and transform how lawyers track their time.
“Our purpose is really to change the way that people think about working,” says Alshak, Ping founder and CEO. “It’s to first rid lawyers of the things they hate to do most, such as timekeeping, but the ultimate goal is to allow professionals to understand where their time is being spent and how to optimize that time.”
Instead of giving law firms a data dump, listing the time and duration of every email and phone call on a given date, Ping curates that timesheet. Ping’s AI is able to determine if a given activity is billable, which client matter it relates to and what the legal code is — across all apps, programs and devices. “That’s really what differentiates us from any other player on the market,” Alshak says.
In 2017, Ping was named Legal Tech Startup of the Year at the American Bar Association’s first pitch competition. Since then, the company has seen many developments. “We ran a two-week pilot with the product, and it resulted in a 13 percent revenue lift across pilot users,” Alshak says. “We’re talking about massive economics by changing the way a firm operates.”
Now, Ping is targeting and rolling out the product to their next three or four firms. They also received significant funding and are aggressively growing out the team (from their current team of five software engineers, a designer, a businessperson and AI engineers with PhDs in particle physics).
And a milestone is just on the horizon. “We are in the process of closing our U.S. partner firm, which I can’t go public about yet, but it’s one of the largest firms in the world,” Alshak adds.