Startup Alley: My Learned Friend launches crowdsourced legal research platform
This week sees the launch of a new social media style platform for legal research, discussion and debate. Called My Learned Friend, it provides the ability for users to search for basic legal research information on an enquiry specific basis, then rate, comment on and add to the knowledge base for the benefit of the wider legal community.
The cloud based platform will also provide the opportunity for sector specific discussion forums and a live email notification service, so users know when an area they are interested in has been updated. Compatible with tablets and smartphones, My Learned Friend is accessible via an easy online sign up process and will attribute credit to contributors via dedicated profiles, allowing them to build their reputation rating and contact list.
Managing Director of My Learned Friend, Rick Yates said: “The way that lawyers seek research information has changed. People want quick access to key information, often on an enquiry specific basis. They want the assurance that other professionals view that information as relevant, and even the opportunity to weigh in on its usefulness. MLF allows us to create a useful legal community that has value and relevance for practicing lawyers, as well as a real life legal knowledge pool for students and trainees.”
Content submitted on My Learned Friend will be moderated by users, with useful information being promoted using a Thumbs Up rating system, and Useful/Not Useful indicators for the use of case law or legislation in relation to specific legal enquiries. The site currently has research categories for 22 legal disciplines and holds case law and legislation for approximately 3000 legal enquiries. MLF is offering a one month free trial. Subscription fees will be £9.99 a month for professionals and £5 a month for students, with no contract period. There is also a reduced fee for corporate subscriptions for businesses in need of 5 or more accounts.
My Learned Friend Ltd is a Manchester based legal-tech start-up business. An MLF app is on the way however the My Learned Friend site is fully compatible for mobile technology, so is functional on tablets and smartphones. The company goes on to say “Crowdsourcing is the act of gathering information which has been contributed by a large number of people for the benefit of the wider community. The practice has become more common as technical capability has advanced, and we think it could be really useful in the legal sector.” And adds “
Are users at risk by using information from MLF, or by making contributions?
We would expect any user to exercise the same caution as they would when using or conveying information from any public access information source. The My Learned Friend Terms and Conditions are explicit in stating that the service acts as an open forum, and that ultimate responsibility for the use of information lies with users.