Legal Legends: Platform that fills in the gaps in South African legal system for start-ups17 March 2017
With the technological dawn the avenues, through which citizens seek conflict resolution, have developed accordingly. Part of this movement is also the e-commerce website, Legal Legends, which provides legal services for entrepreneurs and small start-ups in Africa. Kyle Torrington, one of its founders, explains that they bring a far more quirky, and far more approachable take on legal services and provide start-ups with a legal help, as the high rates set by regular practitioners are rather discouraging. So how well does this initiative fit into this new approach to the provision of legal services?
Nowadays, consumers are aware of a number of different ways in which they can purchase legal services, including online forms and fixed fee options. They are increasingly attracted to unbundled services, and a la carte solutions for their legal issues. This is reasonable as the Internet gives legal consumers potential to be more informed than ever before. As many as 42% consumers are doing their own legal research online (Avvo 2015) and thus, it has become a question of survival to be a user-centered firm for the sake of competition. A new era for legal services has risen, it’s hailing transparency, convenience and carries the potential for a better value-price alignment.
Yet, even though law firms have adapted to the technological progress, by providing the modern customer with a digitalised version of existing processes, they usually come at a high cost for small-scale traders and newly established companies. In this setting of a clear disconnect between the value and the price of legal services, an online legal services platform Legal Legends, comes into play by offering a legal coverage specifically for these new innovators. As the first platform of its kind in South Africa, it had an impressive turnover of around €10 000 on an advertising budget of about €1500 since their soft launch in February 2016.
Its success is even more remarkable in light of its simplicity. “The science behind it is very simple and intuitive,” says Kyle, “what you don't see there is a live chat facility, a person can have a live chat with, a qualified attorney who can guide through exactly what service you need to purchase and how to go about it, so once again it is this quirky, demystifying approach to law.” Essentially they have coupled a complex problem (law in this case) with a simple interface that everyone is familiar with and allows for a far easier way to overcome such complexity.
The advantages go beyond the quality services provided at fixed upfront prices. In its legendary style, the website also offers the possibility of a legal health check, which provides an automated way to get a snapshot of where a business currently is, and where it needs to be legally. Thus, Legal Legends has discovered an unmarked territory in which it can freely showcase its commitment to the 'new legal consumer'. The business model “allows them to rapidly respond to new market demands, listen to their customers, and adapt to changes in legislative requirements while taking Mzansi’s legal landscape to new frontiers.”
In the words of Connor Sattely, HiiL's Justice Accelerator agent, “Legal Legends can potentially expand their service across Africa or wherever there is latent demand for start-up/SME legal services.” Their success came after their win at the Innovating Justice Award in Johannesburg last September. The HiiL's Justice Accelerator can similarly help other innovation start-ups to scale beyond the prototype stage by fostering justice innovation and associated advancements in selected geographies through funding. Currently, they have issued a new Call for Innovations and Call for Talent for 2017. The requirements for successful applicants can be found here. The success story of the Legal Legends should inspire all potential innovators to turn their ideas into a concrete business story that can with HiiL's help become a valuable contribution in the communities in need.