The hottest business trend these days is the online platform. Take the people with certain needs and put them on one side; take service providers and put them on the other side; and use technology to let them easily connect in the middle without the use of a broker or middleman. Smart.
Most industries identified this innovation and adopted a platform five or 10 years ago, e.g., Uber, Home Advisor, Lending Tree, AirBnB, Match.com, etc. Other industries, however, such as the legal industry, have not been so quick to adapt, making them ripe for a platform.
A “Traditional” Industry
As anyone who has hired an attorney will tell you, it’s not easy. Similarly, attorneys often find it difficult to find new clients and build their practices. As a result, the legal industry is now faced with the economic anomaly of there being an oversupply of attorneys and an undersupply of accessible, affordable legal services.
Why? Because the legal industry is well behind every other industry in terms of technological advancement, and as a result, those with legal needs and attorneys capable of satisfying those needs are unable to quickly and easily connect. Fortunately, Legal Services Link, an aggressive startup out of the 1871 Tech Incubator in Chicago, 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 or don’t want to ask for a 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 and/or the rates charged aren’t compatible with the client’s budget and expectations.
On the other hand, searching the Internet for the perfect attorney is difficult and time consuming, leaving the client to sort through volumes of information and options to try to find a good attorney. Even then, once the perfect attorney has been identified, it can still be difficult to get in touch with that attorney and/or get him or her to accept the engagement.
Because of these flawed processes, many individuals and businesses with legal needs are trying to handle their own legal needs or, even worse, leaving those needs unsatisfied.
Legal Services Link has created a third way — a better way — for 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 to all attorneys on the site that 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. If they are not interested in satisfying the clients’ legal needs, they delete the email. No lengthy phone calls, no hassle.
At the end of the day, clients end up with a short list of applications from attorneys who know what their legal needs are, know what their budget is, and want to work for them. For attorneys, the transaction is just as efficient, with clients they would have never otherwise come in contact with effectively coming to them.
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