Meet Bahar Ansari, 31, co-founder of Case.one, which launched on January 17, 2017 at ALM’s Legaltech (Legalweek). It’s her first startup. (The other co-founder is Alexey “Alex” Pelevin, a UX designer.) Ansari also is the Principal Attorney at Ansari Law Group, based Ladera Ranch, Calif.
Education: University of California Los Angeles: Master of Laws. LL.M. in Tax Law, LL.M. in International and Comparative Law, 2013. Whittier Law School, J.D. 2012. California State University, Fullerton, B.A., Communications Journalism, minor in Business Administration, 2008. Admitted to the California bar.
Day Job? I still have my immigration law firm; I focus on specifically EB-1, which is the first-preference employment-based green card category for aliens of extraordinary ability.
What problem does your startup solve? Case.one is a cloud-based, all-in-one legal practice management software. It helps attorneys work on litigation; exchange information; manage time and billing; create invoices; and monitor ongoing tasks—from anywhere.
Is the service currently on the market? Yes. We offer a free trial, there’s no contract or fee for joining Case.one. The cost is $0.99 per active case per month on the pay-as-you-go plan. For pre-paid annual packages, it depends on the number of cases—the price could go down to $0.39 per case.
What inspired you to pursue Case.one? I briefly worked in a Los Angeles firm as a litigation attorney, where I handled a large caseload. The lack of a proper case management system and billing system was time consuming. So I left the firm and started my practice. The available technology options were not user-friendly and were pricey.
A client introduced me to Pelevin, and we started designing a system that would meet the needs of lawyers—that was how Case.one emerged.
How did you come up with the name? We were looking for something simple and easy to remember. So we came up with the “case” as it is a case management system. And as an all-in-one tool, where we charge less than one dollar per case, we came up with Case.one.
Do you have any patents? No.
Do you have funding yet? Five million from angels, friends and our own money.
What is your biggest challenge re: the start-up? Most law firms have had a system in place for a long time, and they don’t see the as problems.
What do you need right now? In six months? In a year? Right now: clients. We want active clients and users to give us feedback, which is invaluable to our growth and the direction of the company. In six months: more clients, up to 200. In a year, we need to secure more money. We will be looking to close $15M in round B from a VC who is focused on legal tech.
What have you learned that you wish you knew five years ago? The value of technology and automation in everyday life. This is an area that I never knew much about.
Who most influenced you? Marissa Mayer, a female pioneer in tech, an one of the first employees at Google. She was president and CEO of Yahoo! in 2012 and resigned on June 13, 2107 (Yahoo! was sold to Verizon Communications). A Stanford graduate, Mayer went through a lot to ascertain her role in the industry. She fought to improve Yahoo’s corporate culture, while trying to keep Yahoo’s once-strong brand afloat. Her contribution to Yahoo! resulted in improvements across the board and the management culture. Mayer is one of America’s most notable self-made women.
What book changed your life (or at least influenced you). The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. She explains how our mental outlook can affect all areas of our lives. I strongly believe that it you believe it, and project it, you’ll achieve it. If you strive to push past barriers, your mind must be set to limitless. Setting a mental barrier will only hold you back from living up to your full potential and successes, whatever success may mean for you.
Advice for other entrepreneurs? Don’t be afraid of failure or rejection. Trust yourself and believe in yourself. Take chances and don’t be afraid to test waters in different industries. If you have ideas—explore them and never take no for an answer.
What are you afraid of? The quote “No one ever said on their deathbed I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” I live a fast-paced life, often connected with my career. I’m afraid to look back and see that most of my life was spent working and missing out on moments with loved ones. I love what I do, so it does not feel like work most of the time.
What are you most proud of? I have a passion for helping others and have been involved with charities growing up—it was a huge part our family values. I’m proud to be at a point to give back and help people. I was fortunate to pick a career where I could help people achieve their goals and dreams—and I could see a change in people’s lives.
Where do you expect to be in 10 years? I hope to continue running my firm and Case.one; and traveling and continue my charities. I am in the process of setting up a non-profit organization, to increase access to justice for low and moderate-income people and other vulnerable populations.
Your dream career if you were not a lawyer and entrepreneur? A professor, or volunteer at the United Nations whether on the legal side or boots on the ground. It would be a dream job to work with non-profit foundations for women and children’s rights and education. Hopefully, in a few years I will have my own non-profit where I can expand my reach.
What does your workspace look like? (Borrowed from Sam Gosling.)
Unlike my closet and my room, my workspace is very organized.
Favorite vacation destination? Close to water—an island in the middle of nowhere would be ideal, with no technology, to reconnect with nature and take a complete break.
Favorite musician? After hearing Adele at the Grammy Awards, I was impressed with her voice. She was inspiring, with her strength and her ability to stop and start over her performance in front of thousand of people watching in the venue and millions people watching on TV over the world.
Favorite food: I could live off of French fries and ice cream.
Favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
What’s your mantra? One day at a time. Set some big goals in life, but take the process one day at a time and be flexible to make adjustment and changes on a daily basis.
Who would you want sitting next to you if you got stuck for three hours on the tarmac in a 737? Anthony Bourdain. He would have interesting stories to tell about two of my favorite things: food and traveling, and about his experiences while shooting “Parts Unknown.” That, I love watching.
Update: Press release, July 6, 2017: “Case.one has announced a new announced a new native integration with Microsoft Office 365. This integration makes syncing of calendars and contacts, sending and receiving emails, and creating documents and spreadsheets possible all without leaving Case.one. The integration also allows users to take full advantage of the wide range of powerful collaboration tools within the Office 365 suite.)” Read full release: here. pdf. Contact: Cathy Kenton.
Cover image and potatos: Clipart.com
Mayer image: World Economic Forum 2013.
Compiled by Monica Bay, CodeX Fellow and freelance journalist. She is a member of the California bar. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MonicaBay.