A Law Firm of the Future — Alex Shahrestani (Promise Legal, PLLC)

Published on February 21, 2024 TOJI Spotlight

Alex Shahrestani is the founding partner of Promise Legal PLLC, a firm serving business start-ups by helping them take the legal steps they need to launch. He is also Managing Partner and Legal DevOps for CLE development at  South by Southwest this year.    

Alex has always had a personal interest in technology, advocacy, and innovative problem-solving, but it was the 2008 financial crisis that led to his decision to pursue a career in law—this path would give him a unique and flexible skill set to live out his values while earning a living. After completing a degree in computer science, he went to the University of Texas School of Law in Austin. In 2017, Alex founded the Journal of Law and Technology at Texas, a scholarly publication dedicated to exploring the intersection of law and technology. Unlike many law students who seek their first jobs at established firms, Alex knew he wanted to start his own practice, be his own boss, and craft the kind of law practice that would make high-quality legal services accessible to a broad spectrum of people.  

In addition to building a network of colleagues and mentors in law school, Alex applied to the Texas Opportunity and Justice Incubator (TOJI) program shortly after graduation in 2018. This State Bar of Texas initiative supports attorneys in developing sustainable law practices while promoting access to justice for everyday Texans. Alex credits TOJI with helping him reach his goal of starting his own firm straight out of law school because it offered the future-focused tools and training to develop a solid foundation for Promise Legal PLLC. The TOJI program provided Alex with a supportive network of like-minded individuals who offered solutions and helped him navigate the uncertainties of starting his own practice. Through meaningful conversation and collaboration, the program fostered an atmosphere of creativity and problem-solving. 

In the few short years since his graduation from law school, Alex has built a team that supports people who need legal assistance with 21st century business formation, contracts, and regulatory compliance. Alex emphasizes that creativity in his firm is not just about having a million ideas but rather about problem-solving for clients. He explains how clients often come in with preconceived solutions to their problems, and it's the firm's role to creatively assess if those solutions align with their goals.  

His firm also contributes to the broader goal of improving access to justice in sustainable ways. “I feel an affinity for the startup founders,” Alex says. “I get excited about their attempts to change the world.” Partners at Promise Legal PLLC are incentivized to engage in pro bono work and have a healthy work-life balance. Alex’s wife, Maggie, also a TOJI graduate, is a partner in the firm. The couple have built a life with their law practice that allows them to do quality legal work for clients while prioritizing time with their children as a growing family.  

Alex’s bold leadership goes beyond his firm. His drive to increase legal competence in a technologically advanced future has led him to work with the State Bar of Texas Computer and Technology Section, present at the ABA Tech Show, and organize the legal track at South by Southwest, the long-standing conference that “celebrates the convergence of tech, film, music, education, and culture.” From March 12th to 14th, the SXSW legal and tech agenda will span a wide range of legal subjects, from cannabis regulation to copyright law and election law. Notable sessions include discussions on AI and human rights, the legal challenges of live content creation, and contracts within the metaverse. Notable speakers in this conference include Justice Lerman from the Texas Supreme Court and industry experts in fields like pharmaceutical regulation, content creation, and global practice management. 

Alex Shahrestani's journey serves as inspiration for legal professionals striving to build purpose-driven practices. With his drive and creativity and the support of the TOJI incubator program, he has successfully navigated the challenges of entrepreneurial legal practice to create a better legal future.  

TOJI (Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator)

TOJI (Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator)

The Texas Opportunity & Justice Incubator (TOJI) is the flagship program of the State Bar of Texas addressing the justice gap. They focus on helping lawyers across Texas build solo law practices that serve everyday Texans. Go to txoji.com to learn more.

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