Exclusive: Pioneering Closed Legal Services Advisory App

Roberts: The time for the idea will come

A US company that was looking to bring subscription legal services to the UK consumer market shut down after less than two years, Legal future can reveal.

The inability to replace Slater & Gordon (S&G) as legal advice provider, as well as the impact of Covid, have taken the company a profit, which went into liquidation earlier this month.

LegalDefence was LegalShield’s first overseas business, which has 1.7 million product subscribers in the United States.

The app gave users the full range of consumer legal advice and support of up to £ 24 per month was rolled out in July 2019 following a pilot project that saw 70% of users renew their subscriptions.

Legal advice came from S&G, backed by an artificial intelligence-based chatbot called Gordon. It was available 24/7, and also provided access to a range of legal documents.

A spokesperson for LegalShield said: “The closure of the business follows a decision by Slater & Gordon Lawyers UK, our legal service providers, to change their strategic focus, which means they were no longer no longer able to provide legal services to our members.

“Although strenuous efforts were made to find an alternative supplier, they failed to identify a viable offering, and the UK board therefore decided to cease operations in the UK.”

A spokesperson for S&G said: “We ran a pilot project with LegalDefence to offer legal services, which is now complete.

“This was one of many initiatives we have taken over the past few years to explore different ways to meet changing customer demands.

“What we learned during this process has been incorporated into a whole new digital product, designed from the ground up, to provide a new way for clients to access legal services.

“The first service will help victims of motor trauma – who will likely be discouraged by the new in-person litigants portal – to pursue a compensation claim and will launch ahead of whiplash reform.”

Mike Roberts, who was leading the UK operation, stressed that it had been closed properly, all debts paid, leaving the door open for LegalShield to re-enter the market if it so wished in the future.

He explained that the law firms he spoke with about replacing S&G at the end of last year were reluctant to try another way of providing legal services – even though LegalShield had offered to help them with the investment. necessary – and also refused to engage given it was during lockdown.

The pandemic had also meant fewer people signed up than expected – around 1,500 signed up with LegalDefence, and a slightly higher number with PrivacyDefence, which protected consumers from identity theft.

While as a service it “worked”, the numbers weren’t enough for LegalDefence, and PrivacyDefence was not sustainable on its own. “The only sensible decision was to shut the business down and put it into liquidation,” said Mr. Roberts.

He said, “If I started over I would start with the small business aspect – small business owners already need legal services. This is an easier starting point than trying to create a need in the eyes of consumers and respond to it. “

But Mr Roberts said he remains convinced the time will come for subscription legal services like this in a few years as consumers who subscribe to apps as a means of accessing a service age. every day and take on responsibilities that could lead. to a legal advisory service.

Legal helplines and online documents are often bundled into employee benefit plans, union benefits, and legal protection insurance, while there are a few subscription services, mostly on a small scale, notably offered by Which?.

The Legal Services Commission has identified legal protection insurance as a possible means of meeting unmet legal needs.

About Bernice Dyer

Check Also

Law Firm Delivers Strong Performance Above Market Expectations

Legal and professional services group Gateley said it was trading ahead of market expectations following …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.