There must be something in the water in Australia at the moment.
Amidst a burst of entrepreneurial activity, another legal start-up has gained some traction.
LegalVision began life in December 2012 as an online legal documents specialist focused on the DIY market.
Individual consumers, smaller businesses, and others seeking legal documents such as contracts and agreements, could download templates from the LegalVision website.
Quickly, however, the company found that wasn’t enough for many customers – they wanted a real lawyer to review the documents, and advise on the bespoke aspects of their matter.
So now the site has gone one stage further and offers fixed fee quotes for legal projects and a live lawyer to review customised legal documents.
For example a customized employment document costs $79.95, but the more advanced “Document + Review” service is $499.95.
The latter option gets you the document, consultation with a LegalVision lawyer, and further drafting, review and sign-off by the lawyer.
Of that $500, the lawyer keeps the bulk of it, while LegalVision takes a small percentage as its fee.
LegalVision uses a variety of lawyers.
Some are sole practitioners, while others have trained and practiced at large law firms but want to work more flexibly – women with kids, for example.
Lachlan McKnight, the CEO and co-founder of LegalVision, explained to me how his company saves money for buyers of legal services:
“In a big law firm, a trainee or junior lawyer typically prepares the first drafts, and the document is then passed to a partner for review and finalization. We cut out the first part. Most of our work is contract drafting for small and medium-sized enterprises. Our efforts are focused here. We try to get lawyers who have worked in big firms to join our network. They can handle this level of work perfectly well. It’s not that complex, compared to some of the work they will have done at their former firms, so they manage it effectively. Big corporate law firms are inefficient, but they train their lawyers well and the product quality is high. So we want to provide Big Law-standard service to small and medium-sized businesses at an affordable price.”
Lachlan has a background in law and finance.
Before starting LegalVision, he practiced law at Freshfields in London and at Norton Rose in Hong Kong, and also worked in structured finance at Barclays Capital in Sydney.
LegalVision hit profitability last month, and although the business is self-financed, they may look at external investment in the future.