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UK-based legaltech Lawhive bags $2M to give affordable legal advice

Photo Credit: Lawhive

Hiring a lawyer can turn out to be an expensive affair but it does seem appealing to visit a website and possibly pay much less. Lawhive, a UK-based legaltech startup, wants to give consumers and small and medium-sized businesses in the UK access to affordable legal services, given that 3M consumers and 1M SMEs had a legal problem that was not resolved last year.

The company has raised $2M in seed funding in order to increase transparency and democratise access to legal services in the UK for consumers and small businesses. The round was led by Episode 1 Ventures, with participation from Tiny VC and 25 angel investors, including Aron Gelbard (Founder of Bloom & Wild), Jonathan Petrides (Founder of Allplants), and senior executives from Monzo, Spotify, Meta, and N26.

The funds will be used to expand Lawhive’s product, engineering, and operations teams as they strive to help 10X more customers in the next year, as well as to advance their legal knowledge graph, which will improve automation and user experience on their platform.

Despite the fact that the UK legal services market is worth £30B for consumers alone, there is a lack of support and accessibility, as evidenced by the 3.6M consumers and 1M SMEs who had unmet legal needs last year. The industry is still difficult to understand, trust, and afford, and it is notorious for slow responses and exorbitant fees that frequently exceed the value of a claim – the common perception is that legal advice is only available to the wealthy or those who qualify for dwindling state-funded legal aid.

What does Lawhive offer?

Lawhive offers a platform for solicitors that automates time-consuming but repetitive tasks such as document gathering. As a result, lawyers can take on more clients while charging less per case. According to Proner, in some cases, clients pay at least a third less than if they went directly to a solicitor.

Consumers visit the Lawhive website and provide some information about their case — is it a property dispute? Employment? A will? — and then be put in touch with a solicitor. They can use the online platform to share documents and communicate with the solicitor.

Pierre Proner, Jaime van Oers, and Flinn Dolman founded Lawhive after experiencing firsthand the disparity in legal access when their flights were cancelled during the pandemic and the airline refused any refund. After discovering that the cost of legal advice would exceed the cost of the flights, and that access favoured the wealthy, the trio with a background in AI for social impact launched their MVP in January 2021.

Combination of human solicitors and AI

Lawhive is an AI and data-driven Legaltech platform that combines human solicitors with AI to automate repetitive tasks such as initial legal assessments, gathering appropriate legal documents and evidence, billing, and compliance checks.

Pierre Proner, CEO and Co-Founder says: “We believe everyone should be able to access the legal system and their legal rights – the law should be basic utility – this is essential to a truly fair society. Through AI and automation, we’ve been able to help thousands of people who wouldn’t otherwise have had access to legal help. We are thrilled to have backing from investors who share our vision of changing the way people access the law and get legal help ”

Hector Mason, Partner at Episode 1 Ventures comments: “We believe that by using cutting-edge AI, Lawhive can transform the way legal work is carried out for consumers and SMEs who are often most in need of but lack adequate legal assistance. We’re excited to have backed this world-class team disrupting a huge market.”

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