Australian legal tech startup LawAdvisor is set to launch in the UK and has secured the financial backing and support from legal management consultancy Janders Dean, taking total investment in the fledgling company to over $AUS1m.
The Melbourne-headquartered company, which to date has helped consumers to identify and more easily pursue their legal claims, including connecting them directly to lawyers, has also now launched a corporate offering to help in-house legal teams select and manage their panel law firms.
LawAdvisor, which launched in 2015 and in 2016 received investment from Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen, is helping to match the often unmet legal needs of consumers with the surplus of legal advisers in the market. It currently has 1500 lawyers signed up to its platform and founder and CEO Brennan Ong, who is a qualified lawyer and developer, says: “A lot of people don’t know how to take the first step and for many problems wouldn’t go to a solicitor. LawAdvisor makes it easier for them to get an answer and a high percentage then go on to take the next step. Protecting your legal rights is a real thing and many people don’t realise that.”
Consumers can interview lawyers on the site about the work they can do and how much it will cost, and lawyers run the case through LawAdvisor. Ong says: “A lot of lawyers don’t have the right technology to service the online client. Even big law firms still live in their inbox and there has been little advancement when it comes to technology. We’ve focussed on developing proper technology to help them streamline and automate their workloads so lawyers can do what they do best, which is service the customers’ legal queries.”
More than 1,000 lawyers have signed up to LawAdvisor, with more than 2,000 engagements facilitated through the service and over 4,000 questions answered so far. The ambition is that the platform will become both a case management and practice management system for the many smaller law firms that are unable to invest sufficiently in technology.
The new corporate offering arose after law firms said their clients would benefit from LawAdvisor’s technology if it was adapted. After collaborating with a major financial institution among others, LawAdvisor has created a tool that helps in-house teams fast track procurement and track expenditure in real time. Law firm performance is also captured to create rankings to help the in-house team select law firms going forward.
Ong, who in Australia has achieved recognition for developing the Supreme Court of Victoria’s cloud-based case management system, said: “Often panel details are stored in different Excel spreadsheets but through our platform, dashboards make all that information accessible; enable in-house teams to compare and contrast information; and automates the decision process.”
LawAdvisor is collaborating in the UK with a number of early law firm partners and in-house teams with a view to formally launching in September.
Janders Dean founder Justin North said: “In-house counsel are growing up faster than their private practice siblings in many cases, and the arc of maturity requires the support of new tools, techniques, and technology. There is strong demand from in-house legal teams to approach problems in an inventive and experimental manner and LawAdvisor has proven to be the necessary enabler.”
This is not the first time Janders Dean has invested in a legal tech venture and North added: “Where there are initiatives, whether they are commercial or other areas of investment like The Legal Forecast or Law Without Walls that we believe will make a difference to the future of the market, we’ll consider investing, whether it’s a tech venture or a venture that looks to support early career resources.”