Welcome to the latest interview in our Women in Law – Female Founders series by Dana Denis-Smith, CEO of Obelisk Support. This time Dana speaks with entrepreneur and qualified lawyer, Lauren Riley, Founder and CEO of The Link App.
In this interview, Lauren shares her experiences of addressing key business issues as a female founder in the legal sector, and what it’s been like to build a business and then scale it.
Hi Lauren, let’s start with your business story – how did it all begin?
My business story begins conventionally enough, in that I qualified as a solicitor, after studying law at Lancaster University (in the UK).
Whilst training, I concluded that the legal profession lacked a client-centric approach to good service. My research at the time led me to believe that lawyers would benefit from easily accessible software that would enable them to keep in better contact with their clients, and that such a platform would drive client loyalty and engagement.
From this spark of an idea, The Link App was born.
How would you describe your company’s growth in just three key figures?
Three key statistics serve to demonstrate The Link App’s success among our client base:
- 94% of people use The Link App to communicate with their lawyer, in preference to the web portal platform of our product.
- Our team size doubled in 2019 after our latest round of fundraising
- 97% of notifications sent via The Link App are read by clients and 20% of our messages are replied to in less than 60 seconds.
What are your thoughts on the state of the legal industry?
The legal industry is facing bigger challenges than at any stage in its history. Clients are better informed, meaning that they require more detail from their legal advisors. Also, law firms face more competition for clients and the growth of online services means lawyers are subject to attack from new service providers, as well as from more traditional sources.
How are you addressing some of the challenges facing the legal industry?
As a service provider to the legal sector, it is our role to identify ways in which we can enhance practitioner-client relationships, and make the whole legal process more accessible to the greatest number of people. We believe that The Link App fulfils those criteria, by providing the swiftest, most seamless method for a lawyer to communicate with their clients.
What would you say is the biggest risk for the UK legal sector, given the current climate?
In my view, the biggest risk comes from the time constraints that lawyers and their busy clients face. This means that lawyers are subject to hundreds of demands on their time schedules every day, and any technology that makes it easier to stay in touch with their clients must be a positive step.
Equally, the modern world has taught clients to expect the fastest, most accurate information, and The Link App enables them to receive up to the minute information from their legal advisors. This engenders loyalty and delivers unrivalled value for all parties.
Can you please describe your role and responsibilities in the business?
As CEO of the business, my role encompasses business development, new product development and delivering the focus that being part of a rapidly-expanding team demands. At The Link App, we are all committed to the best possible client service and experience. It is my responsibility to make sure that happens without fail.
How has your previous experience aided your current job?
As a qualified solicitor, I’m fortunate in that I have an inside knowledge of the challenges and demands that lawyers experience every day. Equally, as a demanding consumer of goods and services, I realise what today’s clients rightly expect of their legal advisors. The marriage of the two is evident in my approach to my business.
What has been the most challenging and the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The challenges of building a business are well-documented and, to my mind, focus mainly on exceeding our clients’ expectations, as well as surprising and delighting them as to how The Link App can help transform their client communications.
The reward comes when clients realise how The Link App can swiftly become an indispensable and integral part of their client management programme.
How has 2019 been for business?
We’ve achieved so much during the year, from significant business growth through to recognition among key influencers in the legal sector. As such, we’re on line to beat even the most optimistic of our business expansion forecasts.
Coffee or tea?
In my busy schedule, I’ll happily drink whatever helps to keep me going at maximum efficiency.
And, when the time comes to switch off, I’d not hesitate to book a beach holiday and to relax with a bit of well-earned surfing.
Lauren Riley is an entrepreneur, qualified solicitor, and the founder of The Link App. Ever since she began studying law, Lauren has been determined to give law a ‘facelift’ and is a firm believer that today’s leading firms can retain their traditional values while embracing innovation. After graduating in Law from Lancaster University in 2006, Lauren concluded her post-graduate diploma in law with distinction.
Specialising in family law, taking on cases such as separation, divorce, or property ownership, Lauren was driven to ensure she could make a difference for those in need of support.
Dana Denis-Smith, is an entrepreneur, ex-lawyer and journalist. She founded Obelisk Support to keep City lawyers, especially mothers, working flexibly, around their family or other personal commitments and to provide clients with an affordable and quality legal support solution onshore.
In 2014, she founded a unique history project – first100years – charting the journey of women in law through a video social history, @first100years.