The hottest business trend these days is the online platform. Take the people with certain needs and put them on one side; take the service provider and put them on the other side; and use technology let them easily connect in the middle without the use of a broker or middleman. Genius, right?!? Most industries identified this innovation and adopted a platform five or ten years ago. See Uber, Lending Tree, Home Advisor, AirBnB, etc. Other industries, however, such as the legal industry, have not been so quick to adapt, making them ripe for the adoption of a platform.
A “Traditional” Industry
As anyone that hashad the unfortunate experience of hiring an attorney will tell you, the legal industryis an old, slow moving industry that isalmost a decade behind every other industry in terms of technological innovation. As a result of the industry’s failure to innovate, it is now faced with the unique economic prospect of there beingan oversupply of attorneys andan undersupply of accessible, affordable legal services. Fortunately, an aggressivestart-up out of the 1871 Tech Incubator in Chicago called Legal Services Link has decided to change that.
A Flawed Process
When most people need an attorney, they ask family and friends for a referral, and if they can’t get a good referral, they go to the internet—namely, Google. Both methods for finding an attorney have their flaws. It can be hard to get a good referral, and most of the time, the attorney referred is not the right fit for that particular legal need—either because he or she doesn’t practice in the appropriate area of law or the rates charged aren’t compatible with the client’s budget and expectations. Usinga standard internet search is difficult and time-consuming, leaving the client to sort through volumes of information and options to try and find a good attorney. Even then, once an acceptable attorney has been identified, it can still be difficult to get in touch with and engage that attorney. Because of these flawed processes, many individuals and businesses with legal needs are trying to handle their own legal needsor leaving those needs unsatisfied.
Here Comes the Platform
Legal Services Link has created a third way—a better way—allowing individuals and businesses with legal needs to quickly post short summaries of their needs to its platform, identifying their budget and payment preferences and asking any essential questions that need to be addressed. Once submitted, those summaries are then automatically emailed, anonymously, to all attorneys on the sitethat practice in the appropriate geographic location and area of law. Attorneys quickly review the summaries, and if they are interested in satisfying the clients’ legal needs, they submit short applications directly to the clients telling the clients why they should hire them.
At the end of the day, clients end up with a short list of applications from attorneys that know what their legal needs are, know what their budget is, and want to work for them.So instead of individuals and businesses with legal needs having to devote time and energy searching for the perfect attorney, and attorneys having to devote time, energy, and money searching for clients with immediate legal needs, Legal Services Linkseamlessly brings them together, fixing the once cumbersome process using its……(wait for it)……platform.
Hopefully, this latest platform will do for the legal industry what Uber has done for the cab industry and make attorneys more accessible, give people more options, and, most importantly, result in people actually having their legal needs properly satisfied.