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What is Wrong with the Personal Legal Advice Market?

Updated: 5 days ago


According to the LawTechUK Ecosystem Report, there are 360 legal tech companies in the UK working to streamline the market. Of these, 245 (68%) focus on Business to Business (B2B) solutions, while only 26 (7%) focus on Business to Consumer (B2C) solutions. The remaining companies operate primarily in the B2B space. This means only 7% of legal tech companies are trying to make the client's life easier.


So, What Exactly is Wrong?


Today, if you are a person facing any sort of personal legal issue, whether it is a simple property purchase or a complex and difficult divorce, you are destined to:


  1. Spend 7-14 days trying to find a lawyer for simple legal advice. Based on our research, around 40% of client inquiries go unanswered. Furthermore, if the lawyer does not respond within the first 15 minutes, they are likely to not respond at all. Only 8% of firms offer free consultations.

  2. Discover that most free legal resources eventually advise you to seek professional help, while laws and regulations become more complicated every year. In even slightly complicated situations, Citizen's Advice will often suggest finding a lawyer instead of providing actionable advice.

  3. Pay 25 times the minimum wage and 15 times the average wage for just an hour of professional help. The average hourly rate for lawyers is approximately £250.

  4. Pay for hours lawyers work, not the results they achieve, despite efforts to move away from the billable-hours model. This also explains why lawyers are slow to adopt new technology that could speed up their work; since they charge by the hour, there's no incentive to work faster.

  5. Experience a market that functions based on word of mouth, where people ask each other to suggest lawyers and lawyers refer clients to each other frequently, significantly reducing transparency and freedom of choice for clients.

  6. Find no solution that allows clients to quickly and easily compare different lawyers and their prices in a transparent manner. Due to the complexity of pricing arrangements, clients often remain unsure of how much their case will ultimately cost.


Meanwhile, according to a report by Thomson Reuters, small law firms allocate only 61% of their time to practising law, with the rest spent managing non-billable activities such as client intake and consultations. This inefficiency further exacerbates the challenges faced by those seeking legal assistance.

To conclude, people have limited options: they can either ask friends for lawyer recommendations or search online, only to find numerous firms spending heavily on ads but not meeting their needs. This often leads to sending multiple emails or making calls, only to be told the firm can't help. At best, they might be referred elsewhere, end up paying £250 for an hourly consultation, or receive no response at all. Additionally, many people end up changing lawyers because they are dissatisfied with the one they initially found, forcing them to start the process all over again. Today, it is just difficult to find a suitable lawyer.


Existing Attempts to Create a Solution


The obvious solution to these problems seems to be a specialised marketplace aligned with how the market functions, streamlining processes on both sides. Such a platform would allow individuals to clearly understand their legal cases in simple terms and then find and compare different lawyers. Think of it as something like rover.com, but for legal cases. For this platform to work, it needs enough lawyers (supply) and clients(demand). It also requires an experienced team of developers and legal professionals to create it.


There were multiple attempts to create this:


  1. bark.com - This site has received adverse comments and reviews from legal proffesionals due to their pricing model of charging before securing a payment from a client and being not specialised enough to be truly useful for legal domain.

  2. oratto.co.uk - Aims to be a one-stop directory for finding lawyers. However, the platform falls short in easing the stress of finding legal help. Users must still contact lawyers directly, with no assurance of their relevance. While it provides lawyer profiles, it lacks critical features such as price comparison and the ability to communicate with lawyers before making a commitment. Consequently, the platform does not fully alleviate the challenges associated with finding the right legal assistance.

  3. www.legalutopia.co.uk - Very similar to oratto.co.uk. Our search for Family, Conveyancing, and Employment lawyers in London, Manchester, and Glasgow yielded not satisfying results, with most searches returning 0 to 3 suggestions.

  4. www.thelawsuperstore.co.uk - Stands out in the market as the best attempt to simplify finding legal help. It uniquely offers approximate lawyer prices and about half of the inquiries we sent received responses. However, the platform still has significant limitations. The choice is narrow, averaging only 3 lawyers per query. Additionally, the listed prices often become irrelevant since they were pre-filled by lawyers long ago and are not updated. Ultimately, despite its advantages, it remains just another directory of lawyers.

  5. https://juxtalegal.co.uk/ - This site requires clients to complete a lengthy questionnaire to receive lawyer recommendations, yet it still fails to guarantee relevant results. More critically, when we searched for lawyers specialising in Divorce, Dismissal, and Mirror Will, the platform could not recommend any. This inefficacy makes JuxtaLegal.co.uk another directory that falls short in providing meaningful assistance to clients.

These platforms share several common drawbacks, notably a lack of emphasis on ease of use for the client, again highlighting the lawyer-centric approach prevalent in the broader market. Clients are required to fill out lengthy, hard-coded questionnaires that do not adapt to their specific situations, only to be asked numerous situation-specific questions by the lawyer afterward. They are then recommended a list of lawyers, where usually at least half are not interested in their specific case, offering only marginal improvement over a simple Google search. Additionally, all of them fail to fully harness the potential of advanced technologies like AI and cloud computing to streamline the process for both clients and lawyers, despite clear advantages.

For lawyers, the situation is equally problematic. They continue to rely on Word of Mouth and Google ads for lead generation, and the initial questionnaires do not capture enough detailed information to assess case viability. Furthermore, existing solutions typically do not offer integrated communication, payment options, or direct client interaction, unlike more efficient service marketplaces such as Fiverr.com


 

Finally, thank you for reading up to this point. You are probably very interested in the legal market and its pitfalls! Let us introduce what have already done to address all of these problems and share our vision.


The Caseguru Way: How We Have Addressed These Issues


Our goal is to improve the market, making it easier to navigate and more transparent for both parties, addressing a gap for B2C solutions and ultimately improving access to justice. We have done our research and gathered a great team of ex-OpenAI developers, qualified lawyers, and legal networking experts to give it a go.


Enough about us, let's see how we address each problem in the market.


For Clients:


Problem 1 - Clients struggle to understand what they can do with their legal problems for free.


Our solution:

We created and grounded an AI chatbot that gathers case-specific information from clients, asking tailored questions and providing information that helps them understand their options.


Problems 2, 3, and 4 - Just talking to a lawyer is very difficult: 40% of emails go unanswered, only 1 in 10 firms offers a free consultation (with the rest charging between £250-400 for an hour), clients do not know where to find a lawyer, and they are stressed and sometimes scared of choosing the wrong one. There is no way to quickly compare different offerings, especially prices, as lawyers' pricing structures, despite seeming clear to them, are a black hole to clients. Clients simply do not know how much their case will cost if it is based on an hourly fee.


Our solution:

We create a case summary for the client and classify the case in the background, assigning all the necessary categories to match them with the right lawyers. We then send emails with all these details to relevant lawyers if the clients wish to do so. We also create a listing on the marketplace where lawyers can discover the case. Lawyers then send their offers, mentioning the price and proposing what they can do. Each lawyer also has a profile, allowing clients to compare prices, personalities, and reputations of different lawyers before committing. Importantly, we have not created a directory of lawyers; the lawyer has to read the case summary and contact the client themselves, which means they are interested by definition, aligning them with the client.


For Lawyers:


Problem 1 - Half of the time is spent on client acquisition, communication, and other administrative tasks, losing almost half of the revenue on them.


Our solution:

When a case is assigned to a lawyer, it includes the relevant practice area and a detailed summary. With a single click, the lawyer can send a message directly to the client and initiate a live chat on the site immediately. This intuitive process takes about 30 seconds to read the summary and another 30 seconds to contact the client.

We are aiming at fully automating KYC, AML, Conflict Checks, and other onboarding procedures in the near future. As a result, the lawyer will only need to click three buttons to onboard a client through our service.

Our innovative workspace concept will allow for seamless collaboration between the lawyer and clients on their cases. Although it's still in its early stages, we are committed to making it highly useful. This will enable lawyers to provide their services faster and with less stress for both parties. As an AI company, we incorporate all the latest AI software features to enhance the experience.



Where Is Caseguru Now and Our Business Model?


We successfully launched in the UK and are proud to offer our services completely free for clients. We are also open for lawyers, with a unique approach that sets us apart from other legal marketplaces. Unlike others, we do not charge lawyers anything if they do not get paid. We take our commission only when the lawyers receive payment from a client, making it entirely risk-free.


We are excited about our achievements so far and look forward to collaborating with more lawyers, law firms, and their clients to make the legal market better than ever, together!





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