Artificial Lawyer has always sought to provide a global perspective and is a strong believer that legal tech knows no borders. So, it was great to catch up with Kailash Panday, founder of LexpertEase, one of the first legal tech companies to emerge in the Himalayan nation of Nepal.
In this interview we discuss what his collaboration and legal resources platform does; the current state of the legal market in Nepal; and the future for legal tech there.
First, can you tell the readers what your company does?
LexpertEase is Nepal’s first and only legal tech platform that provides various legal solutions in a simple, transparent and cost effective manner through a network of verified lawyers.
We plan to develop LexpertEase as the ‘Law Firm of the Future’, focusing on making the legal service delivery process simple, effective and accessible to everyone.
We aim to be a platform for legal talent around the world, allowing lawyers to maintain their independent practice and collaborate through the platform for complex transactions and matters under the common brand of LexpertEase.
Having said that, our focus is always on the customer side, while empowering the service providers to expand their practice and collaboration beyond territorial jurisdictions. At present the platform provides the following:
- Allows users to ask legal queries and get them answered from the lawyers on the platform
- Allows lawyers to create a profile and collaborate with lawyers across geographies
- Allows users to book an appointment with lawyers
- Provides a host of legal resources including laws, regulations, case laws, court applications templates etc.
- Provides legal updates
Why did you start this company?
It was because of a lack of collaboration among legal professionals. Scalability issues in the traditional firm set up are also one of the pain points for a law practice here.
Even in a small country like Nepal, we have clients that require us to initiate legal cases at the lower courts scattered all over the country, which calls for collaboration.
However, there is no system where the expertise or experience of a lawyer can be verified and it solely depends upon the recommendation of someone we know from a limited network.
This is when we thought about expanding and enrolling lawyers in our network by expanding in a traditional way, which again required capital investments and having those lawyers on our roll required regular outlays. In our further research this was not only the problem for a service provider like us, but also for the service seekers.
Either they had to go to a big name lawyer, even for petty cases and pay a hefty fee, or they had to be satisfied with a lawyer (who may or may not have the expertise in a particular area) to handle a case (usually recommended by friends and family).
Not only at a domestic level, this problem was persistent on an international level. There are referral networks globally, but they are either too expensive or ineffective. This is when we planned to explore the use of technology to transform the way people access legal services and the way lawyers deliver their services.
What is the legal scene like there? What are the biggest problems?
Considering that the legal sector is one of the most resistant to change, due to its conservative nature, we can characterise the legal scene in Nepal as extremely conservative, or I dare say, rudimentary.
If I had to put a finger to it, in addition to the generic problems that lawyers face everywhere by virtue of their professional commitments, Nepalese lawyers in particular are at a disadvantaged position.
There are no top-class universities that produce the required number of lawyers, much to the dismay of students who have a keen interest in law. Furthermore, once they graduate the job prospects are dire.
Besides a few top law firms in the capital city, Kathmandu, new lawyers do not get to experience the level of professionalism that is necessary for their own goals and development.
Likewise, the clients are also at a disadvantage due to the same causes. Legal education – and by extension – legal culture, has not developed to maturity in Nepal, both at the professional level and at the more general level.
How do you see the future of legal tech in Nepal?
Based on our research, we are confident that the future of legal tech is challenging and at the same time promising.
As an early mover, we are aware of the risks and rewards. We are currently looking to expand our network and seeking to engage corporate professionals and consultants. We are in the process of partnering with the top lawyers, top law firms, top chartered accountants’ firm and renowned experts in Nepal to serve our clients more effectively and efficiently.
So, in a nutshell, the future definitely looks bright, and I am confident that with emerging firms and tech companies, this sector will continue to grow at a steady pace.
Having said that, I do hold a few reservations given the market size and difficulties regarding raising capital. We may see a foreign legal tech player enter the market and completely sweep the floor (which seems less likely because of the market size), or we may see a few Nepalese companies like ours compete in this niche marketplace.
We are also exploring the use of advanced technologies like AI and Machine Learning to empower lawyers and enhance access to justice.
Overall, I am optimistic about the prospects.
Thanks, Kailash, and good luck growing your platform! Artificial Lawyer looks forward to following how things develop in Nepal.
[ Main photo: Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal. ]