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Why these Legal Innovations make legal work easier, cheaper and more accessible for your Startup
by Startacus Admin
Alexandra Isenegger is the Founder and CEO of Linkilaw, a legal marketplace that matches clients and lawyers. Linkilaw is on a mission to make law accessible and transparent for all. Last week she wrote her first post for Startacus on 4 Free Cyber Security Tips for Start-Upsand this week she returns with a post highlighting 4 legal innovations that can make legal work easier, cheaper and more accessible for your Startup. Over to Alexandra with the list...
1. The Contract Creation Software
Try telling any entrepreneur that there are tools out there which will allow them to write up contracts on their own, without the need of hiring a costly lawyer, and you have got their attention.
When you start a business, every penny counts, and hiring a good lawyer usually does not fit into the budget of an early stage company. However, it is pretty much common knowledge that adequate legal protection is crucial, and that the failure to equip oneself with it can have damaging effects on a business further down the line. Although we feel reluctant about coughing up impressive sums of cash for basic contracts, we often feel like we have no choice in the matter.
2. The Legal Marketplace
Contract automation services are great, but the truth is that many legal issues require the help of a lawyer. Finding the right lawyer is a tricky issue for several reasons. First of all, a given lawyer cannot deal with any specific legal issue - the best work is likely to be produced by a lawyer specialised in your required area of expertise. Think of it this way - would you buy new tyres if you knew they wouldn’t fit your car?
Other than the right specialisation, how do you know whether your lawyer is actually good? Unless they have been recommended by a trusted source, it’s hard to tell. And finally how do you combine all these characteristics to make them fit within your budget?
Some entrepreneurs have felt this common aggreviation and set out to creating legal marketplaces that can help you locate the right lawyer at just the right price. These marketplaces are now available in many countries around the world, with Avvo in the US, Linkilaw in the UK and Posttigo in Spain.
3. The Innovative Law Firm
With the increase of innovation in the legal sector, lawyers are seeing a rise in competition and simply have to think creatively in order to keep their businesses afloat. This has a number of positive repercussions on law firms:
They’re use the same tech we do (some of the time): More law firms (specifically corporate firms) are seeing their clients turn to technology for everyday tasks. In a wish to retain clients and to make their clients’ lives easier, law firms have started to use the same technologies their clients use. It’s quite common to meet lawyers using Slack and DropBox to communicate and send files to their clients. Fifteen years ago, lawyers were averse to technology.
They restructured their pricing: Most lawyers understand that costs will make the difference between one lawyer and the next, and cost transparency plays a large role in decision-making. Many law firms have now moved away from the archaic ‘hourly-rate’ approach and favour the more acceptable ‘fixed-rate’, which enables individuals and businesses to predict their legal costs rather than having to estimate them. Even in litigation, lawyers will now offer ‘budgets’ and ‘no-win-no-fee’ arrangements, e.g. the lawyer makes no money unless you win the case.
More entrepreneurs in law firms. We’re more aligned: With an ever-so-connected world, the line between law and business is becoming more blurry. Instinctively, some lawyers are also entrepreneurs, allowing them to think like their clients. In some cases, especially when many lawyers are seeing early stage start-ups and working contracts to help during funding rounds, lawyers offer to do legal work in exchange for equity in the business that they are helping.
4. Leave the Office Behind- Jump on Skype
Other than the fact that qualifying as a lawyer requires a huge amount of work, time and money, a large part of what lawyers must account for when charging their clients is the cost of overhead; including their staff and office space. Therefore, a logical way for lawyers to reduce these recurring costs is through the creation of a virtual law firm.
A virtual law firm, as its name indicates, is a firm without offices - lawyers communicate with their clients with the help of technology. Virtual law firms can go a long way in reducing costs for their clients, but are also often better at advising from a distance, no matter where in the world the client may be.
All in all, these innovations are paving the way for a new-and-improved legal industry where the client is king and transparency is key.