Founded upon the principle that “access to justice is a basic human right but legal knowledge today is trapped in the minds of lawyers” a new Australian startup has sought the power of technology to “democratise the legal profession.”
These are the words of Brennan Ong, founder of LawAdvisor that launched this week.
Brennan Ong was studying for his PhD on the future of the legal profession when he learned about the many issues facing the industry. During the course of his studies, Mr Ong developed a vision for the future and was determined to make it a reality.
According to the Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales, over 8.5 million people experience at least one legal problem a year, yet less than one fifth seek the advice of a lawyer.
Mr Ong said “lawyers are notoriously expensive – you might have to pay $500 for an initial consultation just to learn whether or not they can help at all. For the ‘missing middle’ – people who can’t really afford a lawyer, but aren’t poor enough to qualify for legal aid – where do they turn for legal help?
“LawAdvisor will change this,” said Mr Ong.
LawAdvisor creates a cloud based, digital ecosystem of legal services allowing members to obtain answers to simple legal problems from qualified lawyers free of charge. For further advice – members can obtain no-obligation fee proposals from a number of a number of lawyers before working on LawAdvisor’s secure cloud-based practice management platform.
Taking the best elements of LinkedIn, Upwork, Freelancer, Quora, Wikipedia, Slack, and Dropbox, LawAdvisor acts as a social network for lawyers with legal news and case updates. The cloud based practice management platform allows lawyers and clients to work anywhere, at any time allowing for a more efficient and cost-effective service.
And it doesn’t stop there. Legal graduates disillusioned by the oversupply of graduates and lack of jobs will be pleased to hear that LawAdvisor is disrupting the internship landscape with it’s own internship program. LawAdvisor has begun accepting graduates from major universities to act as ‘research assistants’ for qualified lawyers on the site.
“Think of it like a virtual internship – LawAdvisor is another way to gain on the job experience and build your credentials and networks by connecting with firms and real case work online,” Ong said.
Mr Ong has a background in legal technology and innovative legal practice. He received the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria’s Innovation award in 2013, having played a lead role in the development of the Court’s cloud-based case management system.