Published on Scoop
Today, a new online market place, MyAdvice.Legal, publicly launched in New Zealand. The platform is intended to assist all types of client from not for profits and major corporates, through to mums and dads to access lawyers with specialist expertise in over 30 areas of the law.
Lawyers registering on MyAdvice.Legal must hold a current practising certificate from the New Zealand Law Society, and must either be qualified to practise on their own account or be duly supervised by a lawyer who is qualified to practise on their own account. Clients can register on the website for free, and provide a description of their legal problem. Lawyers may then submit a description of the legal services they propose to address the client’s problem, the timeframe, and an estimate of legal fees and other cost. These “bids” are then considered by the client who chooses which one to accept.
Mai Chen, Managing Partner of Chen Palmer Partners, developed MyAdvice.Legal after receiving feedback from clients about the legal industry. Ms Chen said “a lot of clients call me on issues that are outside of my public and employment law expertise and who do not know the best lawyers to go to for solving those legal problems. I did not have visibility of who to send them to either outside of the ad hoc method of lawyers I know and asking around the other lawyers at my firm.
“Migrants in particular find it hard to know the best lawyers to go to as they arrive with few networks and sometimes poor or no English, so the first priority after launch will be to translate the site into mandarin. We are doing that now”.
“The strapline for MyAdvice.Legal is Best Lawyer, Best Practice, Best Price. I wanted to make it easier for clients to have easy and quick access to the best lawyers for the job. Clients can register on the site for free. The fact that lawyers will be bidding for instructions gives confidence that clients will be getting advice at a reasonable cost ”, said Ms Chen.
MyAdvice.Legal is also about improving the customer experience of legal advice. All lawyers who register with the site have to sign up to ten customer promises, including providing the first hour of legal consultation for free. Clients will be able to post a review of how they found the advice they received.
“Some clients love their lawyers and sing their praises to me; others tell me that lawyers speak in gobbledy gook, they are not responsive enough, not transparent enough, too focused on hours billed and not outcomes, too expensive, not commercial, the list goes on. MyAdvice.Legal is seeking to close that gap through the ten customer promises that lawyers agree to when they register onto the site and the way the site works to give clients the benefit of a contestable market of the specialist lawyers who can solve their legal problem”, said Ms Chen.
Lawyers will be able to promote their own specialised experience via their online profiles, and by contributing blogs and articles. This is especially important for women and minorities because they are usually disproportionately under-represented in the partnership of big firms. MyAdvice.Legal will feature the profiles of a certain number of lawyers each week, giving all lawyers registered with the site additional visibility.
Ms Chen says, “It’s like a legal Facebook page. I have registered on the site as have the intermediate and senior associates, special counsels, principals and partners at Chen Palmer Partners, so I am also disrupting myself and my firm.”
MyAdvice.Legal will give both clients and lawyers more choices.
“I think value billing will become more prevalent and artificial intelligence will be essential to keep the price of advice more consistent with client expectations. I also think lawyers will have to focus on their core specialties and not stray into legal areas they are not truly expert in. Setting up a flexible, client driven marketplace will even the playing field. I think the whole concept of the traditional law firm will have to change”, said Ms Chen.
You can go to the website at myadvice.legal