Imagine this: up to 85% of the Australian population are unable to access legal assistance for everyday issues—family law, business law—and will or probate issues. Sounds unrealistic in 2018, doesn’t it? But it’s the reality for many Australians.
Katie Richards, established Virtual Legal, an online law firm, to cater for everyday Australians who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access legal assistance.
In Australia, the two main reasons for Australians not accessing legal assistance is due to geographical constraints—living in remote or regional locations—or financial constraints.
Virtual Legal, in June, will be releasing Law on Earth Platform, a public self-service legal system to assist everyday Australians.
“We have built an online law firm that everyday Australians can use to learn about how to fix their own problems. The system uses smart technology, such as geo-tagging, to create the correct documents for their specific location and situation, so the correct laws apply for where they are located,” said Katie.
Through this online legal system, users will save up to 90% of what they previously would be paying a traditional law firm. In addition, the online system provides access to Australians living in remote locations.
“The system also gives customers the ability to book a recorded video call with lawyers accredited to work in the portal.”
“So a customer will pay a fixed fee and get 20 minutes of a lawyer’s time to get advice, or have them review their documents. That lawyer’s legal liability insurance will then attach to the advice, so the client is protected,” she said.
In the development of Virtual Legal, Katie was—and still is—faced with providing a quality service at a reduced cost.
“The biggest challenge our business is faced with is providing legal services at heavily reduced rates, but with high quality of service and legal advice maintained,” Katie said.
“The reason this was an issue is because salaries for lawyers are still going to be high, so we had to find other ways to minimise cost in the business, such as introducing automation, virtual assistants, using smart technology, and productising general legal information.”
What’s next for Virtual Legal? The grant money from Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur Program will assist in covering the costs for Katie’s trip to the UK in May to complete her final exams to gain accreditation as a lawyer in the UK. In addition, Katie will be starting discussions with investors to gain financial backing to assist in Virtual Legal’s growth.
Virtual Legal will be launching the Law On Earth platform in New Zealand in October and aim to launch in the UK in the first quarter of 2019.
For more information on Virtual Legal, please see the links below: