This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia, which closed in 2021.

Online Law Firm To Shake Up Traditional Legal Services

As much as Suits would have us think otherwise, seeking legal advice can be time consuming and expensive.

The legal jargon, six-minute billables and slow turnaround time makes the average person want to bolt the other way, but new business, LegalVision is promising to change all that.

The online-only law firm, which targets small and medium businesses has been in operation since February 2014 and boasts 2,500 clients thanks to a business model resembling an online marketplace of Australian-based lawyers who work from home, offering fixed rates and a fast turnaround time.

“There’s no need for the client and lawyer to meet in person as largely, we know what the client’s going to need,” CEO Lachlan McKnight told The Huffington Post Australia.

First, the client fills out a questionnaire via email, the lawyer will then draft up documents and then they’ll have either a phone or Skype meeting.

With 41 employees and a client growth of nine percent each month, McKnight believes he’s tapped into a market of small and medium businesses that require a lawyer in order to get their business off the ground however, don’t necessarily have the time or money for what’s required legally.

“We have a client care team who deal with the inbound queries, a sales team, a tech team to build the software and a marketing team -- so the lawyers can just focus on the real legal work rather than having to format documents and attend meetings,” he said.

“We deliberately try to put a structure and process around every type of workflow to keep the cost down.”

McKnight said the the firm’s lawyers are a diverse group -- from new mothers who are wanting to work part-time to ex-corporate lawyers wanting a sea change -- all of them based around the country, from Melbourne to Byron Bay.

“We offer a streamlined service for documents such as a Shareholders Agreement, Business and Website Terms, a Privacy Policy or a Distribution Agreement,” said McKnight.

The firm took out the top award for the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) Thought Leadership Awards which shines a light on successful and innovative projects in the legal sector.

However, McKnight said he doesn’t see LegalVision as a threat to bigger, corporate firms.

“It’s a long way off for corporate law firms to consider us as a threat because we really are focusing on an area of the market that means we’re competing with smaller and mid-tier firms,” said McKnight.

A spokesman from the Australian Law Society said business models such as these are progressive in terms of keeping costs down and offer an alternative for those small and medium businesses that don’t have any in-house counsel.

They say it’s also important to check the solicitors aren’t offshore and have current practicing certificates.

“Pricing pressures, globalisation, new technology and shifting demographics have altered the legal services market, and fee structure is an important part of any firm’s business model and is a matter for individual firms to determine,” he said.

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