Lachlan McKnight is the CEO of LegalVision. He’s an ex corporate lawyer who has practiced in the UK, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Australia, and has an MBA from INSEAD.
Evan Tait-Styles is LegalVision’s CTO. He takes care of the technical aspects of the business. Evan is an experienced web developer and certified nerd.
The two met through mutual friends, hit it off and went into business together. After setting up the initial website and launching the business and pivoting a couple of times they decided to team up with Ursula Hogben, an ex-corporate lawyer who had launched her own small business law firm concurrently.
By offering Australian entrepreneurs a cost effective solution to their legal needs … we inform and support the small business community.
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
After finishing his MBA, Lachlan noticed a hole in the market for a fast and easy way for businesses to download standard legal documents. Evan and Lachlan initially started LegalVision as an online legal document platform but after being in business for a few months, discovered that people were more interested in having legal work done. This quickly led to a change to the current model.
LegalVision still offers the basic suite of (free) legal docs, but the business has transformed into a full service business law firm in the process. LegalVision has grown consistently every month since launch, and has raised over $1.5m in capital over two rounds.
Please explain your business model?
LegalVision is a unique player in the Australian legal services market. Specializing in business law, we acquire our clients through a “best in class” digital marketing campaign consisting of both paid and unpaid channels. Our client care team onboards the prospects and offers them a fixed-fee quote on the legal work.
We pride ourselves in price, quality and speed of our service. A classic, top tier law firm would offer specialist lawyers but bill by the hour which is not financially sustainable for many Australian business owners. High street lawyers are more affordable but often don’t offer the type of specialist knowledge that a client would require. LegalVision offers the best of both options, top tier lawyers for a fixed, high street price.
So far we’ve served over 2000 SMB clients all over Australia with great client feedback and a high returning client base. LegalVision offers services in a wide range of legal matters such as drafting and reviewing franchise agreements; drafting and reviewing contracts such as business Terms and Conditions and Shareholders Agreements; trademarking; and setting up businesses.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?
We are constantly thinking and implementing new ways in which Australian business owners can access legal services. Our initial model is working well but there is still a long way ahead before legal services become as accessible as other services on offer. We are currently in the process of developing an app so watch this space!
How do you make ideas happen?
We have regular brainstorming sessions. We like to use SCRUM project methodology to get stuff done.
What does your typical day look like?
Many of our team get together in our basement gym for a freeletics session at 7.30am. We then have a quick stand-up meeting at 8:30am and everyone gets to work. Lachlan spends most of his time helping our management team hit goals. Evan spends his time working with our developers to build our tech. Ursula works with our lawyers to ensure our systems and processes deliver results to our clients. On a Friday we’ll all head out for a well earned drink!
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
Starting a high-growth startup business isn’t easy. Funding is of course a big challenge. We’ve focused on building a business which generates significant revenue as a way of avoiding the need to raise too much capital.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
Invest a lot of time in creating excellent quality content for your site. This can be in the form of periodical articles on your blog. You can’t start early enough with this and it will give your site an edge that will pay off on the long run when you are trying to acquire sales through organic search results.
What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?
We like to think that we are the leader in our industry in Australia, by taking a fresh new approach to law and pulling it into the digital age – we are certainly pioneering. There are a few software as a service businesses in Sydney that are doing an absolutely amazing job; Atlassian is a great example of a company leading the way.
What about internationally?
On the international scene, Rocketlawyer is a good example of how the legal industry is moving towards an online model. The founders have built up an impressive business that relies heavily on giving people access to free legal info online and converting these leads into paying customers.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
We believe that the very basics of starting a business should include sorting out the legal aspects before you kick off. The amount of businesses who don’t really invest in properly setting things up is staggering.
By offering Australian entrepreneurs a cost effective solution to their legal needs (which they are often unaware of), we inform and support the small business community. So far this has given us absolutely great feedback from our clients!
Speaking of affecting social change, is there a particular charity you’d like our readers to support?
Yes, though we are passionate advocates for many charities that support the homeless, with multiple members of staff volunteering frequently!
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
Name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter.
Marc Andreessen (@pmarca)
Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch)
Pat Cranny (@patcranny)
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
We are always looking for talented lawyers to join our team; we also have multiple positions available in our graduate program. This is an internal rotation program for young graduates who’d like to work in multiple sections of our business before settling in the department they like most. The graduates get the chance to work in marketing, sales and legal.
Apart from staff we are also constantly looking for great PR opportunities and even someone who would drive public relations for us!
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
Anyone know a cheaper alternative to AdWords? 😉
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?