The founder of Pro-Boards has developed “the simplest solution” for lawyers who want to improve their productivity: the LegalBoard.
Brian Potts’ solution is a keyboard designed specifically with keys corresponding to certain symbols, words and phrases lawyers find themselves typing over and over. This specialized keyboard is available for purchase online for $65, debuting last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
On the keyboard, the function keys at the top are set to words like plaintiff, defendant and appellant. Number keys are altered as well, giving users the option to directly insert symbols like the copyright symbol: ©, or the section symbol: §.
Inputting these symbols requires several seconds of work each, which, for the average lawyer, can make quite a difference.
“For a lawyer that bills $300 per hour, if you save a second or two with each keystroke, each keystroke will be 8 to 16 cents of savings,” Potts told WisBusiness.com. “Time savings matters, not to mention the annoyance of stopping and starting.”
Potts’ company is focusing on improving how users interact with the computer, rather than working with any software.
“Nobody has changed the keyboard since the typewriter,” Potts said. “I think there’s a big market out there.”
The 37-year-old Kentucky native is a partner with the international law firm Perkins Coie in Madison, where his own experiences as a lawyer pushed him to create a better way for others to do their work.
“I had the idea in mid-January of last year, and I knew the product didn’t exist yet because I would have known about it,” he said.
Soon after coming up with the idea, Potts collaborated with a computer engineer to put together prototypes for testing. He had several lawyers try out the keyboard for a few months, using their feedback to tweak the design.
According to him, the biggest worry was finding “the right manufacturer to produce it at the right price point.” He did so with DS International, a keyboard manufacturer based in Glendale, Ariz.
It was this company that showcased the LegalBoard at the show. Potts called the show “huge” for the company, adding it led to “lots of leads with law firms and IT people.”
“There was good reception at the trade show,” said Potts. “Everyone who looked at it thought it would be useful.”
Potts sees expansion in the future of the company, which “hasn’t gone the typical route” for startups.
Rather than spending years in the research and capital-raising stages, Pro-Boards LLC has been able to start making money immediately. This is chiefly due to the relatively low capital input needed to manufacture the keyboard, according to Potts.
The company currently has no full-time employees, but there is a team of around 10 individuals working to grow the company, supported by some part-time interns.
“I expect to be hiring more soon,” Potts said.
The possibility exists for the company to break into other professional markets, he said, adding that keyboards for engineers, accountants and even doctors are possibilities.
“I’ve been contacted by many people from other countries,” Potts said. “There’s already been a lot of international interest.”
See the LegalBoard website here: https://www.legalkeyboards.com