Back to Blog
 Legal Services

Legal Services and The Latent Legal Market, Signs of Change?

November 2, 2010

Yesterday in our November newsletter we mentioned the Legal Services Act (sign up to receive future editions using the form on the right), and how from October 2011 the Act will allow non-law businesses to own a stake in law firms.  This is expected to signal the full entry into the legal services market of companies like Barclays, the Co-op, and AA.

So, it was interesting to read on Neil Rosen’s Legal Futures blog about the announcement by AA and Saga of the range of legal services on offer to their members.  Members who have taken out legal expenses cover will have access to some legal documents including wills and prenuptials, and to a certain amount of legal review.  These consumer-focused services are just the tip of the iceberg, and when the Act takes effect I would expect a push by a wide range of large brands into the market for small businesses too.

There are an ever growing number of start-ups due to the decline in the number of full-time salaried positions.  Many start ups and small businesses are either unable or unwilling to pay the fees law firms would need to charge to do their legal work.  So, boot strapping start ups are invariably looking for cheaper solutions.

 Currently, a start up’s options are to engage a law firm to do their legal work – which is too costly for many – or to buy contract templates (not ideal), or to cobble together documents by copying those of competitors (definitely not recommended!).  This latent legal market represents potential work that many solicitors and others would like to attract, and so we, like a lot of other firms are experimenting as to whether we can develop innovative business models to meet this unmet need for lower cost legal services.  At Azrights we have come up with a solution, a unique membership site for online business, called OBIS.

OBIS not only provides guidance to businesses hoping to carry out some of their own legal work, for example by offering instructions on how to file their own trade marks, but also allows members to submit documents for review by legal professionals who have the knowledge and experience to identify errors.

The philosophy behind OBIS is to provide a way for an online business to more effectively manage its risks, and to give those businesses access to searchable resources representing years of accumulated knowledge and experience.  This will hopefully allow them to better understand the opportunities available online, and the minefield of risks that can be the downfall of ill-prepared businesses.  Using OBIS will give businesses a much greater chance of succeeding.  OBIS will launch in December.

To find out more register for my teleseminar on November 30th here.