Lawyer 365 legal app launch hailed “extremely successful”
Lawyer 365, the £5 million-valued U.K.-based virtual law app for “AI-powered” legal advice and video appointments, has announced its plans to conquer the U.K. Services include free virtual legal consultations, AI Legal Assistant, live chats with qualified solicitors and appointments with lawyers up to 7 days ahead.
Founded by British-Bosnian entrepreneur Rudi Kesic in 2018, Lawyer 365’s initial assessment software uses a form of “AI” the company claims is “designed to mirror a lawyer’s brain” providing “free initial legal advice for millions in the palm of their hands.”
Initially, just over 160 law firms across England & Wales will use Lawyer 365 to offer their free “Virtual Lawyer” initial consultations service, giving clients real-time appointments bookable at a time of their choosing from the comfort of their home or place of work. The Virtual Lawyer service replaces a traditional initial consultation with a lawyer, which will prove popular with younger generations.
Announcing the news, Mr Gurpreet Bhatia, partner at HSC Solicitors in Birmingham, one of the early adopters of the platform, commented: “With the acceleration of virtual law on the back of social distancing, Lawyer 365 is truly a tailwind growth story that provides a sneak peek into what the future of law holds. It has been a true pleasure working with Rudi Kesic and the Lawyer 365 team and we wish them the best of luck on the journey to come.”
However, Lawyer 365 rise as the U.K.’s rarely seen legal-technology success story has not come entirely without controversy. It probably comes as little surprise that AI hasn’t yet evolved to the point where it can replace, or even reliably supplement, human lawyers. The Lawyer 365’s motivations are clear and noble: It wants to save money and produce better access to law for all. Posters for the app are becoming frequent in on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and the company is aiming to book tens of millions of pounds in revenue through the law firm SaaS subscription model, according to the pitch deck, including an estimated £1m in revenue from its strategic partnerships with legal groups and networks across the U.K.
In January this year, Lawtech 365- the company behind the Lawyer 365 platform, raised significant investment in an effort to launch the app in the U.K. Lawtech 365 confirmed that ADN Capital were a part of that initial investment, valuing the company at more than £5 million.
However, in the U.K., lawyers have voiced persistent scepticism over how much of the “legal advice workflow” can be pushed onto a phone app, and whether that is a decision that should be made by the regulation agencies such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority rather than practitioners.
One lawyer, speaking of smartphone video consultations, stressed the importance of long-term relationships with clients, and warned of the importance of “non-verbal cues” that could be lost during a rapid-fire 30-minute video-call consultation. However, the lawyer added that the legal profession is now more open than ever to using technology for initial consultations without making potential clients attend face-to-face office meetings.
The lawyer said, “If you need a simple shareholders agreement- fine. You really don’t need to see me.” Adding that the use of video technology in law could become one of the most obvious and immediate changes in the legal sector in the months and years after the pandemic.
Despite the wariness of some lawyers, Rudi Kesic is much admired by London’s lawtech community for his tenacity and grand vision to bring “accessible legal service into the hands of every person in the U.K.” For many, it’s a refreshing dose of entrepreneurial grandeur that you don’t always find in modest Britain. Rudi’s story is an inspiring one. He was born in Prijedor in Yugoslavia (now Bosnia & Herzegovina) to middle-class parents and came to the U.K. as a refugee at the age of 12 to escape the war. He taught himself English, then put himself through law school at one of U.K.’s most prestigious universities, the University of Warwick, where he gained his Masters degree in International Economic Law. Though he successfully built his career as managing partner of the Advantage Law group, his heart was always in legal technology.
For Lawyer 365 to fulfil its vision of making law firms more efficient with smarter technology, it will need to keep earning the trust of regulators and the legal community. But being at the cutting-edge of legal services comes with its difficulties, whether it be recruiting the right staff or management.
However, Rudi mentioned another difficulty: communicating the benefits of innovation, in that, so often when you are new, people sometimes don’t understand what you do – they are frightened.
He added, “We are seeing incredible traction on both the legal provider and consumer side. Our vision of virtual law services as a solution to scale quality legal delivery has been accelerated by 10 years by Covid-19. The entire legal technology ecosystem is now on an accelerated transformation and Lawyer 365 is on the cusp of redefining legal delivery.”