By @SimonCocking

Describe what your company does?

LawOnline enables the user to draft high quality, highly customised legal documents using a combination of our expert software, the legal rules and clauses in our database and the information provided by the user regarding their particular issue and requirements – all online.

Inspiration?

It came from my own personal experience as a law firm client and was also particularly inspired by the work of Prof. Richard Susskind, author of ‘Tomorrow’s lawyers’. This sector is also one of the last to be impacted by the Internet which also attracted my attention.

How are you different?

Most providers of legal precedents (i.e. documents) only offer flat/static Word documents. Our documents do not exist – they are dynamically assembled as the user provides information regarding issue and circumstances. LOL takes the user down a multitude of decision tree branches as they provide more information. The resulting document is high quality and highly customised to that user.

There is a latent demand for legal protection services from individuals and businesses who often go without because of a fear and uncertainty around the potential costs involved.

Our prices are fixed, visible and certain. Also, by ‘burying’ the legal complexities in our expert software we also make the legal process easy to follow and understand, thus making the law directly accessible to this underserved cohort and so empowering them.

How are you different for the solicitor?

For solicitors’ firms our technology is a substantial productivity tool. Firstly it adds to the legal knowledge and expertise of the firm to an extent that a small firm would otherwise find difficult if not impossible to achieve, e.g. junior staff can now draft complex documents that previously would require partner-level involvement/close supervision.

The ‘cut and paste’ vulnerability of Word document precedents and the associated high proof-reading overhead is also almost entirely eliminated – LOL’s legal content cannot be unwittingly compromised.

Using LawOnline also reduces the time devoted to the low-end information gathering and validation aspect of the engagement between solicitor and client allowing more time for high value-add advice.

Why will the company do well?

This is a ‘disruptive’ technology in a legacy sector. It requires a change of behaviour. However, for example, once users realise that they can draft and file their own debt claim court application – at a minimal cost – they will realise that law is not as opaque and inaccessible as it often seems.

Where are we based?

LOL is based in North Tipperary and Dublin (law firm partner). Broadband is not an issue – we are not dealing with graphics or video, only words and numbers.

When were you launched?

Early September, 2015

Biggest wins?

Early days. Simply getting this content, i.e. legal rules and clauses, into an online expert system was a considerable challenge.

Big wins – collaboration with major financial services provider.

LawOnline has had a formal interest from a major Irish financial services brand (NDA signed) in a collaboration which would see this organisation bundle LOL services with its own core services as a way of enhancing the value it delivers to its own customers. This will likely be a white-label arrangement should it go ahead.

Who is your customer?

Individuals, businesses and solicitors (particularly the smaller firms) within the RoI jurisdiction

First global market document process will be launched on 14th October, i.e. ‘EU flight compensation and refund claim’ which addresses a very topical issue currently (see last week’s European Court ruling in relation to KLM etc.). This service will be 100% unique.

About the team:

For myself I have more than 35 years banking and financial services experience in Ireland, the U.K., the US and Continental Europe.  I have tried to build a collaborative team around me, i.e. leveraging the capability of external partners to keep start-up costs down.  LOL outsources the web design and build, some programming (limited), legal advice element of the ‘bundle’ (William J. Brennan & Co. Solicitors), and call-centre.

Favourite tech gadget?

More a capability – I would like to exploit screen-sharing/conferencing technology as a way of engaging with users/clients, particularly those not confident enough to use our ‘digital only’ service, giving far more reach than a physical law firm office. For example, our solicitors could assist users in drafting a document using our process by screen-sharing. We offer this facility but take up will be slow.

Long-term plans?

Our ultimate aim will be to rollout this model in a large market/jurisdiction. However, not easily scalable – content has to developed for each jurisdiction but also makes the business more resilient given the complexity of the information output by our platform, i.e. if digital information is easy to generate its price eventually falls. No timeframe currently. Other possibilities include widening the range of legal services provided in the RoI market.

How can people find out more?

Our website:      Youtube      Facebook   Twitter


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or @SimonCocking

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