Over the past couple of years, scores of maverick entrepreneurs have been working tirelessly to take the low-cost efficiency demonstrated by taxi service-disrupting upstart Uber and reapply it to a whole host of starkly contrasting industries.
This so-called ‘Uberization’ of the global economy has cropped up just about everywhere — from accommodation and banking to manufacturing and politics.
Yet up until now, the legal industry had remained relatively untouched by this newfound demand for digital automation. Partners Matthew Horn and Ryan Caltagirone are ready to change that.
Enter Legal Services Link.
Attorney Client Match Service
Founded in 2015, Legal Services Link has rapidly risen to become one of the industry’s most dynamic assets for consumers. It’s essentially an intuitive, online forum that enables businesses and individuals to instantly connect with the perfect attorney to suit their legal needs.
Not only does Legal Services Link provide users with access to an all-encompassing, old-fashioned database with which to track down legal help — but it also allows them to post a concise summary of the precise job they’ve got in mind. In turn, multiple attorneys are then free to review the work and submit an application directly back to the user.
Bottom line: rather than chase down dozens of attorneys, Legal Services Link ensures that the perfect person for the job comes directly to you. Better yet, the service is completely free for would-be clients. It’s also free for attorneys to join the forum — although they are required to pay a small annual fee in order to upgrade to a premium account and communicate directly with clients.
According to co-founder Horn, who’s also a partner at law firm SmithAmundsen, Legal Services Link was a direct result of his own frustrations and those of partner Caltagirone with the legal industry.
“There’s a lack of transparency and a lot of specialization within the legal industry that makes it time-consuming and difficult to find the perfect attorney,” Horn told small Business Trends in an interview about the new service. “The attorney needs to specialize in the appropriate field, charge suitable rates, have availability at the right time, and connect on a personal level with the potential client — that’s a lot of boxes to check.”
“Many times, it feels like finding a needle in a haystack, and we knew that it didn’t need to be that way,” he added.
On the flip side, Horn also says that Legal Services Link was designed to make life a little bit easier for attorneys.
“I devote approximately 20-25 percent of my professional efforts to marketing myself to new clients,” he said. “Many times, this involves going to lunches, dinners, golf outings, association meetings, charity functions — and 95 percent of the time, nothing comes of those efforts. So instead of spending time at night with my family, I’m going to dinners, meetings or events, and then nothing comes of it. I knew it didn’t need to be that way.”
That’s why Horn and Caltagirone decided to create a system that cut out all those needless marketing exercises in order to simplify the process of connecting attorneys with new clients.
As part of the Chicago-based 1871 incubator, Legal Services Link has taken off fast — and it’s already started to turn heads within the legal industry.
In May, the fledgling start-up expanded its increasingly diverse pool of attorneys after launching a new partnership with the Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN), a bar association for attorneys whose spouses are or were in the military.
And as Legal Services Link continues its aggressive rate of expansion, Horn said he’s hopeful the legal industry will finally start to evolve along with it.
“The legal industry is almost a decade behind most other industries in terms of technological advancement,” he explained. “That said, the legal industry has finally recognized that, out of necessity, it too needs to modernize.”
As part of that modernization, Horn said that small, independent attorneys should ultimately be able to seize upon tools like Legal Services Link over the next few years in order to become far more competitive across what is currently a hugely over-saturated market.
“With Legal Services Link making client development easier and less expensive, there will be more attorneys working at solo and small firms, with many of them working exclusively from home and connecting with colleagues and clients by way of virtual offices and shared spaces,” Horn predicted.
Image: Legal Services Link