Online platform a law unto others during COVID-19 - Choose Brisbane

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Online platform a law unto others during COVID-19

10/09/2020

An online platform developed by a former Lord Mayor’s Business Awards winner is helping thousands of people with legal issues during the COVID-19 pandemic and growing exponentially in size.

The online self-service platform Law on Earth was created by Brisbane law firm Virtual Legal to enable people to access a tailored, online legal service that allows them to build their own documents and receive expert advice at a fraction of the usual cost.

Law on Earth last year won the Brisbane City Council Award for Outstanding Micro Business in the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards. The platform is a social enterprise that can save up to 90 per cent of the costs of accessing legal assistance. Hundreds of articles, videos, guides and other materials in the platform’s learning centre are available for free. 

Virtual Legal CEO Katie Richards said COVID-19 was instrumental in driving business to Law on Earth.

“So many people needed help during this period and they wanted to have one source of truth to find information across leasing, business, wills, enduring powers of attorney and other matters,” Katie said.

“No one wanted to, or they were unable to, spend any money so the platform got super busy. We’re anticipating having around 5,000 users in the platform by the end of October 2020, up from 1,700 pre COVID.”

The increase in the platform’s popularity meant Katie has put on three more people. One of them is an Australian lawyer trapped in New York who is preparing documents and guides overnight Australian time.

Investment in the company’s expansion didn’t miss a beat. The company remotely participated in two accelerator programs (Impact Boom and Startmate), which led to substantial development and growth.

Katie said that, once Law on Earth commenced with Startmate, they were able to begin seed funding capital raising right in the middle of the pandemic.

“Now we are rolling out around Australia ensuring there are lawyers available all over the country to help people in need across all the fields of law the platform offers,” Katie said.

Law on Earth also secured a large corporate’s business, with the task of providing each of their employees two advice sessions each, adding up to 60,000 sessions a year. This entailed further work on developing Law on Earth’s corporate dashboards and functionality to accommodate for corporates, businesses and government departments.   

Law on Earth is now also using this functionality for another corporate entity that is helping accounting firms provide their clients with an online estate planning offering at heavily reduced rates while maintaining high quality advice.

Katie said Law on Earth was going to offer every person in Australia two free documents “so they can have play with the platform, get comfortable with it and know it is there for them if and when they ever need it”. 

“Given this is a social enterprise, it is essential that we use a large portion of profits for reinvesting in our purpose of providing legal information to the public. So, at this point in time, all profits go straight into developing the system for a better user experience and preparing more and more guides and precedents for use. 

“The growth in Law on Earth really validates how much it is needed because the whole reason it was built was to try and address the access-to-justice issue, which already was a global issue and is now even worse.

“It’s good to know we can help and we’re ready to scale to assist millions of people Australia wide and also put hundreds and potentially thousands of lawyers back into jobs too.

“We’ll be rolling out in New Zealand hopefully in December and the UK early next year after our next capital raise.”

To secure their two free documents from Law on Earth, people can register for free on the site, go to the ‘Edit Profile’ tab on their dashboard and enter 2DOCSFREE into the ‘Voucher Code’ field. This will then automatically be applied to their next two document purchases.