Case Studies - Priori

Case Studies

Priori has helped the following companies improve how their legal departments find, hire and manage outside counsel for on-demand specialist projects, standardized overflow support and staffing, saving them time and reducing spending.

How Vonage Uses Priori for Cost Savings, Local Counsel & More
Q: What Was the Challenge?

Vonage is a global cloud communications company that helps businesses accelerate their digital transformation. They turned to Priori Marketplace to find flexible resources for various types of legal work, including local counsel and overflow support, and to drive cost savings overall.

Carol Hopperton, Legal Chief of Staff at Vonage, joined the company in 2019 to set up Legal Operations and brought her background in working for fast-growing technology companies to the agile legal team at Vonage. One of her most important goals in taking over the role four years ago was scaling the sales-supporting legal function at the company.

“You’re in kind of a quandary in legal because everything that sales needs, they want it now,” she explains. “And there’s this general expectation that you’ll take whatever volume comes in and be able to support it now. So for us, it’s really about trying to map our legal resources onto the business.” Hopperton’s background with technology companies informed her perspective on legal resourcing. “I’m always trying to understand where we’re spending our dollars, how we’re spending them and how to spend them most effectively by embracing better processes, better technology and better legal services. I try to run legal like it’s my business.”

Hopperton succinctly summarizes the challenge she runs into: “How do we right size the team? How do we put together a really agile, dynamic team that can flex and be able to support peaks without adding to our team size?” 

When she received a recommendation to check out Priori, it provided an intriguing opportunity to answer these questions. 

“I was looking for an additional flexible contract resource to supplement our team,” she says. “I also wanted to figure out how we could start to embrace contract managers so that we were using our seasoned attorneys to do the really complex, high value work rather than churn out NDAs, for example. I wanted to embrace people who were enthusiastic about working with technology solutions in their everyday provision of legal services and different ways of working because you want to make sure they’re going to thrive in your environment. Essentially, I was looking to fill some gaps and really enhance our support and coverage in terms of location and volume so that we could take a breath—the volume was so high that the team was constantly chasing their tails.”

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Q: How Was It Solved?

After receiving a recommendation from a colleague in her network, Hopperton decided to give Priori a try and immediately found the platform offered her a way to quickly find high quality attorneys who could seamlessly supplement her legal team and reduce their workload.

“We got a project up and within 24 to 48 hours what came back was what I consider to be a perfect number of quality candidates,” she says. “Very quickly I’m able to interact with them and have a conversation. Then I’ll put one or two through to our attorney responsible for the particular business line or activity and that’s the process. Within a really short time we’re able to onboard these folks and I felt like I was able to be really close to the process.”

She also notes that the lawyers on Priori’s vetted network understand how to work well with businesses, making the onboarding process smooth. “The main piece about finding people is whether they have the right culture fit and mindset to really thrive and become a part of your team. It’s just as important as doing the job. Even though they’re not a full-time employee, you want them to be seen as a core member of the team. What’s been really interesting is—the only way I can say it is that with Priori we’ve found just great people.”

Reflecting on why she has come back to Priori for multiple engagements, Hopperton explains, “Sometimes I stop and think, ‘Why do I use this?’ I use this because it’s easy. I’m not saying the other processes are wrong. I know some of the other options can provide a good service, but there is something about everything being online and at my fingertips that I just feel much more in control. I can have a very quick and direct relationship with the candidates and the technology is there to support it. It’s easy. It’s fast. It just works.

Q: What Was the Result?

Hopperton’s experience with Priori has led to multiple current engagements started through the platform, including local counsel on the West Coast, an attorney focused on bespoke telecoms service agreement work and an attorney providing overflow support on an interim basis. Depending on what’s needed for a given project, Hopperton may use an attorney for a certain number of hours a week or month, or on a more full-time schedule for a defined period.

As Legal Chief of Staff, one of Hopperton’s top priorities is cost savings. “I always have one eye on the budget and one eye on what we’re trying to do with that budget,” she says. “Like most companies, we’re trying to do more with less. That’s why I embrace new methods and I have very much stepped away from the idea that you need purely seasoned attorneys to do more of the same—you know, every time your volume goes up you just hire another attorney. For me it’s about having a blended legal support team which enables us to focus the right team resource on the most appropriate activities—it makes the team more efficient and provides cost savings.”

Priori helps Hopperton reduce costs in this way. “It’s about finding people with the right level of experience that we need, but not having to employ them and then as a team making sure we utilize them,” she explains. “It gives us great access. And instead of bringing an employee in, where you have the additional headcount costs and everything that goes with it, you also achieve close to 100% productivity. With Priori I feel like I’m benefitting from 100% of whatever hours we are buying and we are buying them at a competitive rate.”

Hopperton sums up her experience with Priori: “It has given me an easy, fast way into a solution, so now it’s my go-to place.” She also points to how in addition to making things easy, the efficiency of the platform compounds her cost savings goals. “Time equals money, so every hour or half hour that one of our team members or myself are assessing resources, whether it’s interviewing or on a call, that’s money—we can’t be doing other work. It comes back to those same things, which are the quality of candidates, the speed and the ease of bringing them in and that makes it efficient. And efficiency is cost savings.”

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Interview with Pat Harkins, Sr. Manager, Operations Support, Legal and Public Policy at Verizon
Q: Why do you like working with Priori?

Relationships are so important on both sides of the house. We need that dependability, the follow-through. At the beginning of all relationships, as we know only too well, there's that “getting to know you” space. We are an organization with a lot of attorneys. We have approximately 425 attorneys on staff. They know what they want and everything that they want, they want it last week. So it takes a while to get into the groove of working with a partner that understands that. With Priori, the turnaround time is excellent and the candidates are strong. That's really what we need when we are looking for a lawyer to plug a hole right then and there.

One example is our vendor agreement. We have some items that we’re not very flexible on. Priori said, we want to partner with you, let’s see what we can do to make this partnership work. Finding companies that want to build partnerships like this is lacking today. To me, it shouldn’t be either party adapting on their own, it’s more: How can we meet halfway, so it works for all parties? And that was a willingness that Priori had from the onset of our relationship. Everybody who we worked with asked, “What can we do?,” “How can we make it work?” That is probably the single thing that impressed me with Priori, the core values and operating model of let’s figure this out together.

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Q: How did you get started using Priori?

I literally reached out to Priori with a job description. That’s just the way we tend to do things and Priori was very adaptable to that process. They immediately pivoted and understood what we wanted and how we wanted it, and we don’t necessarily get that with other vendors. Between that and the overall customer service and quick turnaround time, there was a connection and I felt this was a relationship that we could foster and build on. It comes right down to customer service in the end.

Q: What brings you back to Priori for project after project?

When we’re trying to staff specific projects, we're not looking for a full-time employee who can bench with us for five years. We’re looking to do what we need to do now. Priori always understood that very quickly in the process, as opposed to other vendors, who I don’t have anything bad to say about, but sometimes take so much time to due diligence a candidate that by the time they’re submitted, we have to say, “I’m sorry that position was filled.” You can do a due diligence on a candidate and come back in three weeks, but that same opportunity won't be there in three weeks. Priori gets that. Some vendors’ models are built on doing that deep dive search for every single position. There are those types of searches that are critical, but for many of our needs, that’s not the pathway we’re going down. For our operating model of staff augmentation, we want strong candidates quickly, and we need companies like Priori that have the bench to provide that.

Interview with Andy Dale, General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer at OpenAP

With more than a decade of experience in in-house roles, Andy has worked at companies with legal teams of many different sizes. In this Q&A, he discusses how he’s used Priori Marketplace throughout his career.
Q: What was your first introduction to Priori?

I was a user early. At a previous company, I needed a simple set of things done—nothing super complex—and Priori helped me locate a firm that was really, really effective. The company was growing in Europe and I needed help and asked a question of a large law firm we worked with and the cost was expensive, while the work wasn’t necessarily differentiated. So I went to Priori, and found a really good firm formed by lawyers who had come from bigger firms. They were headquartered in Wales and had a big office in London. They understood exactly what we needed done. We had subsidiaries in multiple countries that weren’t large but they needed attention. The firm had partners who spoke the language and understood the different sensibilities of the different countries, and when you’re dealing with corporate and employment issues, those things matter. And over the years, our relationship with the firm scaled for that very reason.

Q: What impressed you about the platform?

It was a really effective way for me to find a firm that was pre-vetted and had partners with really good experience who were able to help us with issues at rates that were attainable for my company at the time. We were a company still in growth mode and so paying attention to where we were spending dollars made a lot of sense and it is a really sensible way to go about finding a law firm. I think the upfront diligence that Priori did on that firm to understand that it’s a firm that was going to be appealing to lots of in-house teams at certain stages of growth was really the first thing that convinced me: There’s something here. I could see how when you put the tech behind this idea, it can scale.

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Q: How do you use Priori?

The platform can be useful in a bunch of different ways. I think the main reason I come to Priori is when I have something that is not necessarily board-level visibility or mission critical whereby the actual name of the law firm matters. Then, I open up the aperture on what kinds of firms I can bring in and where I can get value. Priori allows you to get value from places where you might not have known how to find a lawyer that does a very specific thing that you might need, which could be very business dependent. For example, I was in a company where we had a development team based out of Russia and I really needed counsel that understood some of the employment rules in Russia and I was already working on the corporate side with a large firm, but the issues that I needed answers to were too lightweight to spend that kind of money with that kind of firm. I need to be more practical with my spend and Priori helped me find a firm that resolved some key issues quickly and efficiently ahead of a fundraise and after the financing closed.

Q: What are some of the considerations you look at when making outside counsel decisions?

One is the size and scale of your legal department. Who do you have and what have you decided to insource versus outsource? I’m a big “do it inside the company if you can” person, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t projects that just take too long or require too much time and will be done slowly if I tried to do it myself or the team tries to manage it themselves. For example, recently I used Priori to help with legal operations and standing up a contracts lifecycle platform and that involved looking at a lot of contracts and I needed help from someone that knows their way around contracts because of the volume involved.

There are also matters where I think you need to have great attorneys but it doesn’t really matter what firm they’re at. Maybe it’s routine work like trademark issues if you’re not a trademark-heavy company, labor and employment issues or even some IP issues. You want a great attorney but you don’t necessarily need the breadth of a large firm to do the work. You can find that with Priori.

Q: How do you usually search for outside counsel?

I have a network of GCs and chief privacy officers that I go to for my own sticky questions. So, if it’s a certain type of matter, I’ll ask them for the first recommendation, but that doesn’t always fit what you need. And sometimes you need more than one recommendation. So there are a lot of different sources, and attorneys and firms that I really like for certain things, but there are still opportunities that arise where I don’t have a go-to firm or attorney, and Priori represents a way to have access to more capabilities there. Sometimes you actually need a person that is going to get into your Slack threads and talk to other people in your business. 

You need a fast, expedited process to get someone on board to do a project quickly and efficiently. If you can do projects efficiently, that is a massive win. With Priori, I can get a list of six quality people, talk to two of them and find the right person really, really quickly. I don’t know if there’s a substitute for that. Everything is there in the platform and it’s intuitive. You push a button, get the person and you’re up and running to get help with your business. That can’t be understated.

How Anchorage Digital Uses Priori for Overflow Support & Niche Expertise
Q: What Was the Challenge?

Anchorage Digital, a global digital asset platform for institutions, with the first federally chartered digital asset bank, needed flexible support for legal issues in the crypto industry, and turned to Priori for overflow support and niche expertise.

As a key player in crypto, Anchorage Digital is the first stop for digital asset projects and works with institutional clients of all types, from asset owners, wealth managers and funds to banks and fintechs. When she came on as General Counsel of Anchorage Digital, Georgia Quinn needed access to attorneys who understand the crypto market and can work flexibly with their “business hats” on.

“When I became General Counsel at Anchorage Digital and I had to start staffing my team, being able to have flexibility to bring more people on or get more hours was really important because I did not need full-time headcount,” she explains. “I think that’s the same for a lot of startups that are in nascent spaces, where you don't have your market fully defined yet. As a result, you're hesitant to hire a full-time, salaried employee. It's hard to make that full commitment to an employee because there's this uncertainty—you're not sure what the future workload is going to be.

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Q: How Was It Solved?

Quinn and her team at Anchorage Digital turned to Priori Marketplace to source and engage with sophisticated attorneys who understood the crypto space and could work flexibly, providing support when it was needed. Priori’s data-driven matching system allows Anchorage Digital to find attorneys with knowledge of the crypto space, ensuring they can work seamlessly with the Anchorage Digital team and make engagements go smoothly.

“With the kind of work we do in the crypto industry and the way the legal industry is at this point, it's highly specialized,” Quinn says. “We really like that we are able to get access to the very specialized skill sets of attorneys and can find the kind of niche qualities that we were looking for. In my experience, that's rare to find in a legal marketplace.”

Nellina Alarcón, Legal Operations Manager at Anchorage Digital, explains that, in addition to niche expertise, the ease of use of the Priori platform and the ability to engage with attorneys quickly are valuable to Anchorage Digital. 

I think the biggest benefit for me is efficiency—the time saved,” says Alarcón. “After beginning the request, getting that ball rolling and saying, ‘We have limited bandwidth and need some help here,’ we then immediately go into the Priori platform and create a proposal to request a lawyer. From there, we get a list of possible lawyers that we can connect with and the whole process is very quick. It's much nicer than having to do it the old-fashioned way where you're engaging a recruiter and then doing interviews. I find Priori to be really fast.”

Quinn also notes the professionalism and business-savvy that Priori attorneys bring to every engagement: “We find that Priori lawyers are more like in-house lawyers compared to using a law firm. Priori attorneys act like in-house counsel, not like outside attorneys. That's the difference. It’s a mindset. There’s a different mentality between in-house counsel and outside counsel. Priori lawyers put the business hat on more. They know they have to get the work done so that we can run a business.”

Q: What Was the Result?

The Anchorage Digital legal team is able to work lean and still receive the kind of high quality legal services they would expect from an in-house attorney. They currently have engagements with three Priori attorneys and use the platform for a wide variety of matters, including commercial lending, securities law, crypto issues and vendor management. And, most importantly, the team is able to do this without the risks involved with adding to headcount. 

“Especially being in the crypto industry, which is highly volatile, if we hit a dry spell or a crypto winter or something else, I might have to lay people off or I would have a lot of extra overhead that I couldn’t support if I wasn’t using Priori,” Quinn explains. “You don’t have to lock yourself into an employee and you still get a really talented team member who believes in the company goals and isn't just a mercenary.”

Quinn adds that another benefit of filling gaps as needed through Priori and not having to hire an additional in-house attorney is important for any startup. “Options are really your only currency as a startup, so having that staffing flexibility without having to give up equity or give all the full benefits—all of the things that can really weigh down a company—is important,” she says. “In a startup, you need to be lean and Priori enables that.”

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Q: What Is Anchorage Digital?

Anchorage Digital is a regulated crypto platform that provides institutions with integrated financial services and infrastructure solutions. With the first federally chartered crypto bank in the US, Anchorage Digital offers institutions an unparalleled combination of secure custody, regulatory compliance, product breadth, and client service. Founded in 2017, Anchorage Digital is valued at over $3 billion with funding from leading institutions including Andreessen Horowitz, GIC—Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Goldman Sachs, KKR, and Visa. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Anchorage Digital is remote-friendly with offices in New York, New York; Porto, Portugal; Singapore; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Learn more at, on Twitter @Anchorage, and on LinkedIn.

Interview with Chris Ghazarian, General Counsel at DreamHost
Q: Why did you decide to try Priori?

I chose Priori because I was looking for cost savings off of traditional outside counsel for legal advice in a number of areas. I have been particularly impressed with Priori because the quality of attorneys is the same or better than our usual attorneys at larger firms, which, given how selective we normally are, says a lot!

Q: Did you have any initial reservations about Priori?

I really didn’t think I needed a third party to help me find a lawyer – I thought I knew enough people to do it myself. But within 30 minutes of contacting Priori, they had scheduled three attorney interviews for me, something I never would have been able to do myself. Booking appointments on the Priori platform was seamless and delightful. They had thought through every detail, including providing a pre-arranged conference number.

There was one lawyer we particularly clicked with, and the next day we were on our way, negotiating the deal.

Q: What do you like most about Priori?

Priori has saved us quite a bit of time and money, and it allows us to easily find, and receive advice from, experts in many different areas. In particular, quick responses from attorneys on Priori’s platform, clear communication from the Priori team, and transparent billing make Priori my default when I’m looking for niche expertise, local counsel or simply cost savings compared to more traditional firm solutions.

Interview with Erin Abrams, General Counsel at Via
Q: How did you first hear about Priori?

We needed extra support on our legal team at Via but couldn’t quite justify the budget to bring another person on full-time yet. A colleague of mine who is also in-house at a technology company in NYC had used Priori previously and found the experience remarkably positive. I had also been aware of Priori from their blog and email newsletter, which I found to be very relevant and interesting.

Q: What did you use Priori for?

As Via has grown, our legal team’s workload expanded, but we didn’t have enough in-house lawyers to do all the work and didn’t want to outsource day-to-day commercial legal matters to outside counsel. As such, we needed to bring someone on who could work in a part-time and flexible manner to handle NDAs, engagement letters, vendor service agreements and commercial contracts. 

We also used Priori following the imposition of the federal government’s travel ban early last year. We offered to assist with identifying legal resources for affected members of the Via community. Not only did Priori enable us to identify a roster of reasonably priced immigration practitioners, but Priori also helped us find a great lawyer to come in and provide an informational session for Via drivers on the legal ramifications of the ban.

Q: What do you like most about Priori?

In my experience, Priori’s vetting process is much more thorough than other legal staffing agencies that I have used in the past at my prior jobs. As a result, the caliber of lawyers recommended by Priori is much higher.  Another benefit of using Priori was how specific we could make our hiring requirements. For instance, we needed lawyers with particular expertise who had also worked in technology environments. With Priori, you can really tailor your outside counsel and temp attorney hiring in a way that best suits your needs.

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Q: How will you use Priori going forward?

We will probably keep using Priori in a similar way to what we have been doing, particularly with overflow commercial contracts work. Additionally, as we keep growing, we’ll use Priori to help us find people who can come on board short-term and fill the gaps that arise as we build out our team. We’ll also use Priori for finding lawyers with specific subject matter expertise, particularly in IP and technology contracts and transactions.

Q: How much money do you think you’ve saved using Priori?

Priori enabled us to get a level of support we would have had a hard time finding otherwise. A comparable attorney at a big law firm would have been approximately five times as much, which obviously would have been cost prohibitive.

Q: What sorts of organizations do you recommend should use Priori?

Any company that needs to find a top attorney but either doesn’t have the time to go through the process of hiring someone full time or the budget to outsource to outside counsel at really high billing rates. Priori’s platform allows legal departments to find top quality lawyers quickly and at discounted rates.