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“UpCounsel gives HotelTonight seamless access to the high quality legal advice and subject expertise that we’d expect from a big law firm but at a lower price.”

How Karen uses UpCounsel to Streamline Legal Operations

1. Handling Overflow Employment Work

HotelTonight has hundreds of employees but just one in-house attorney, General Counsel Karen Klein. It’s no surprise that she has to rely on outside counsel to help her get through high volumes of employment work, but the volume of work hasn’t hit a point where she’s ready to hire someone in house. UpCounsel helped Karen easily find an employment law expert who charged a fraction of the cost of a large law firm.

UpCounsel quickly matched Karen with a UPenn Law School graduate whose clients include Tesla Motors and Stripe.

Though initially skeptical of finding an attorney online, Karen says she was impressed to see that UpCounsel attorneys had substantial experience at big law firms, as well as in-house at name-brand companies like Google, Tesla and Lucas Films.

2. Delivering Access to Responsive, High Quality Attorneys

In addition to cost, responsiveness and quality are important to Karen. By using UpCounsel, Karen is able to quickly access first-rate, experienced attorneys who are responsive to her calls and emails and provide the same caliber of legal advice that she’d expect from a large law firm.

3. Matching Unique Legal Needs with Subject Matter Experts

UpCounsel gives Karen access to a range of subject matter experts, and she’s able to select the right attorney for her unique needs based on past client reviews, repeat engagements and a custom-tailored proposal that includes the expected cost. She can also schedule a free phone consultation.

Moreover, Karen describes the UpCounsel platform as “intuitive.” She says that UpCounsel’s user interface was up to the standards she’s come to expect as a GC in the technology industry.

The Challenge

Responsive Industry Subject Matter Experts

HotelTonight’s employment policies and contracts require a depth of expertise and industry knowledge that can’t be found outside of a specialist. Karen says that she’ll never have enough attorneys in house to cover every specialty legal matter that comes up. She needs to be able to quickly access subject matter experts to answer questions that fall outside of her realm of expertise. What’s more, she needs them to be able to get up to speed quickly and require minimal supervision.

Karen needed to hire a responsive, high-quality employment attorney at a rate that wasn’t cost prohibitive, even for day-to-day work.

Budget Predictability: “No Surprises”

Karen has worked with many large law firms and knows that they’re often less than transparent when it comes to cost. She typically does not receive an estimate up-front, and until she receives the bill, it’s hard to figure out the scope of the project.

For Karen, this is a problem. She needs to be able to predict legal spend upfront and deliver on budget without unexpected costs at the end of the month or quarter. She says that she has a rule for her relationship with HotelTonight’s CFO: “No surprises.”

A High Volume of Employment Work

Karen estimates than she might have as much as 100 hours of legal work per week and extremely limited time in which to do it. She needed someone to help her handle overflow work, even though HotelTonight wasn’t quite ready to expand the in-house department.

The Solution

Direct Access to High-Quality Subject Matter Experts

UpCounsel quickly matched Karen’s unique needs with an attorney who had exactly the right subject matter expertise: Josh Garber, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School whose previous clients include Tesla Motors, the city of Los Angeles, U-Haul, Yahoo! and Gap. 

A Contract Expert In-House

As HotelTonight’s first in-house counsel, Karen has limited time and a lot to do. Confident that Josh had the knowledge and experience she needed to provide high-quality legal advice, Karen connected Josh directly with HotelTonight’s HR department to help them develop policies and create and negotiate employment contracts.

In fact, Karen says Josh went above and beyond the call of duty by identifying local laws and keeping up with developing legal statutes that Karen wouldn’t have known about otherwise. She was impressed by the value-added legal service and loved that she didn’t need to find time to do the research herself.

Karen says she was impressed to see that UpCounsel attorneys had worked at big law firms like Wilson and Cooley and in-house at companies like Google.

The Time Saved was the “Biggest Win”

Delegating employment work to a subject matter expert like Josh frees Karen up to focus on other matters, and she calls the time she saved “the biggest win.” Josh also required minimal ramp-up time and was able to seamlessly integrate himself into the HotelTonight HR department.

Karen was also pleasantly surprised by how responsive Josh was, especially with regard to urgent matters that she didn’t immediately have time to research on her own.

Transparent Pricing with a Proposal Upfront

Additionally, Karen loved UpCounsel’s predictable and transparent pricing, and how easy it was for her to avoid surprising her CFO with unforeseen costs.

She says that she has a rule for her relationship with HotelTonight’s CFO: “No surprises.”


Karen is not paying any of the overhead costs that large law firms typically charge, but she’s still working with sophisticated attorneys that have significant experience in prestigious firms or in-house departments. She says she gets high-quality legal advice at costs that aren’t prohibitive, even for day-to-day work.

A Go-To Attorney for Expert Advice

Although Karen originally intended to retain Josh for a single employment law project, Karen and HotelTonight were so impressed by Josh’s ability to fulfill her specific needs that they elected to maintain an active, ongoing relationship.

Karen can use Josh on an as-needed, project specific basis and call him anytime for quick, sound advice without receiving a large invoice. With Josh, Karen has fast and easy access to expert legal counsel that saves her and her company time, money and countless legal headaches.

HotelTonight is a mobile hotel booking application that allows users to find and reserve discounted hotel rooms from their smartphones up to a week in advance. The company has raised more than $35 million from investors, including Accel Partners and First Round Capital, among others.

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About the author

Aviva Schmitz

Aviva Schmitz

Aviva is a content marketing intern at UpCounsel and student at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. She has served as an editor and contributing writer for publications such as The Culture Trip, the Tufts Daily, and satirical magazine The Zamboni.

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