Disruption alert: New digital legal hub to launch

In a move that ought to be watched closely by the likes of Legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer, Merlie Calvert, formerly director of business legal services at LHS Solicitors will shortly launch Farillio, an online community for individuals and businesses to access all their legal documents and know-how for a monthly subscription fee of £8, supported by a network of external advisers.
Farillio is based in London’s Techhub campus in Silicon Roundabout, where startups are vetted and accepted on the basis of their business plan. The company’s advisers include Derek Southall, head of innovation and digital at Gowling WLG and founder of Hyperscale. Other advisers (see below for the full list) include the former CEO of De Beer’s Diamond Trading Company, Varda Shine.
Calvert herself was formerly commercial director at De Beers, before joining Mayer Brown as of counsel in its EU and competition group. At LHS, which she joined in March 2015, Calvert’s remit was to design and grow a new, innovative legal services provider for the SME sector.
Calvert designed and launched elXtr; a digital hub for the insurance sector. Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Calvert said: “I built a basic version for the insurance business of what we’re now launching. I feel so lucky for that opportunity – how many people give you a blank canvas and a budget? It showed me that it can be so much bigger: they were insurance focussed so wanted a product for their insurance clients but when I started out I wanted to launch a new type of law rm and be truly disruptive.”
She adds: “elXtr was the starting point and the foundation: it’s a really nice document hub and an ef cient system for connecting clients with experts. But that’s just the starting point. If you look at the customisation in every other part of our life, that’s where we’re going as consumers and as individuals. After I drop my kids to school I have a short walk to work, in which time I organise my life, but it amazes me that you walk in the door of a law rm and leave all of that behind you.”
Farillio, which will shortly go to market for investment, has reimagined the legal experience – including the code for its automated documents – from scratch, by asking the question ‘what would it look like if it was easy?’
Its chief technology of cer, Dan Jacobs, was previously CTO at Virgin.com. Senior developer James Croft has over 10 years’ experience of building apps, wearables and online platforms and websites in the travel, transport, medtech, healthcare and pharma sectors.
A new joiner in January, Maral Aghazi is Farillio’s sales and CRM executive who joins from Google.
The team, looked at the likes of Document Editor and Google Docs as well as the editing functionality in Microsoft Word but Calvert said: “Nothing had exactly what we wanted and the guys sat down and said ‘we may be creating a rod for our own back but starting from scratch will be worth it.”
Users of the platform can edit their documents with track changes and refer to in-built how-to guidance, as well as collaborate and share documents. The platform retains a record of prior use and documents, which will include a user’s own logo, can be edited and replicated an unlimited number of times or users can pay to connect to one of Farillio’s experts – who may be legal or from other sectors such as the insurance sector.
Firms that Farillio is already working with include The Wilk Partnership in Birmingham, which will provide advice and guidance when it comes to corporate, commercial and employment law. Stobbs IP will advise on intellectual property and EIP on patents. In the Spring, Farillio is looking to further bolster its expert line-up with the addition of a commercial property specialist in the Wales and West Country region.
Farillio, which will formally launch on 28 February, so far has raised money from friends, family and angel investors but will shortly be launching a formal investor campaign. Calvert said: “We have taken good advice on what we need to grow and how to grow. We’re about to launch and have real con dence in what we’re doing.”
She adds: “The platform will be a rich ecosystem of experts and on-demand solutions. You’re not paying for one document – they’re all yours, because we noticed that charging per document does create a relationship and drives some unhelpful behaviours. You might as well go to Google Drive. These documents are always going to be there, and we’ll learn more about you and re ect you and make it as easy as possible to do it yourself. It all comes back to what would it look like if it was easy?”
Farillio’s Advisory committee:
Derek Southall, (Founder and CEO Hyperscale Group Limited/ Head of Innovation and Digital, Gowling WLG);
Tarne Bevan, (Business Mentor and Fintech/Regtech specialist);
Varda Shine, (NED on various, business mentor and advisor, former CEO De Beers’s Diamond Trading Company);
Peter Ibbetson (Chairman of small businesses at RBS, founder and director of JournoLink, NED for various, inc. the National Enterprise Network;) and
Sophia Adams-Bhatti, (Director of legal and regulatory policy, the Law Society)
This story first appeared in the January Legal IT Insider newsletter. To sign up for your free copy click here: http://legaltechnology.com//latest-newsletter/