PocketLaw has been a big success in Sweden and now its two founders, Olga Beck-Friis and Kira Unger, have launched in the UK. The platform offers many things and is a mix of a ‘CLM-lite’ system, legal guidance suite, and lawyer provider.
As the founders (pictured above) told Artificial Lawyer, the idea is that at least for SMEs, PocketLaw provides a true full service, from figuring out your legal needs, to helping you to build and keep all your key documents in one place, to getting actual legal input as and when needed.
Beck-Friis and Unger said: ‘Companies are being overcharged for low complexity legal work. We wanted to solve this and look at the problem from the point of view of the business.’
The answer has been to build a platform that offers everything (or almost…), because as the founders noted, for most companies legal needs may be part of doing business, but they don’t want this to be a sticking point, or overly complex, or expensive. They just want these matters taken care of in an economical and joined up way.
So, they offer:
- Detailed legal guidance produced by UK lawyers – (and this looks a bit like what Sparqa does.)
- Contract creation via guided Q&A to complete templates – (a bit like platforms such as LegalZoom)
- Contract management and a secure depository, plus platform-based collaboration – (i.e. a kind of ‘CLM-lite’)
- Contact a lawyer service – (in this case they have built a partnership with a particular law firm, Miller Rosenfalk, which has a focus on SME commercial needs and also cross-border matters in Europe. I.e. ideal for small companies in the UK.)
In short, they’ve tried to cover off just about everything they found that SME companies needed. And, it’s not that any individual part of this is unique, it’s the way they’ve packaged everything together. It’s actually affordable as well, going from about £50 a month, to up to about £700 a month.
All well and good. But does it work? Do SMEs use it? Beck-Friis and Unger said that in Sweden, where this all started three years ago, it has been a great success.
‘We quadrupled revenue in 2020, and now more than 1,500 companies have used PocketLaw in Sweden. There is no other solution like us there,’ they explained.
Now, in the UK there is a bit more competition in this realm, but Beck-Friis and Unger are confident they can make an impact: ‘Our secret sauce is that we take the view of the company. We have really worked hard to be customer driven.’
Artificial Lawyer then asked how this all started. Beck-Friis had worked at leading management consultancy, McKinsey, while long-time friend Unger had been a lawyer at one of Sweden’s top firms, Mannheimer Swartling. They both shared a really strong sense of just how much the legal world was not serving a significant part of the market. And so they decided to solve that problem.
And it’s true that if you look at the resources of the average SME and then consider all the legal needs they have and potential legal risks they face – and then consider the costs involved in managing all of this as a much larger business would like to….then, it’s basically impossible using a traditional approach.
Most SMEs can’t afford to pay for lawyers to draft every document, they also don’t know much about the law, nor will they likely invest in a suite of legal tech tools to help them to stay on top of their contracts.
Artificial Lawyer has to say this is ticking all the boxes, and one could also see this as addressing Access to Justice needs, as why should small companies not be able to have legal certainty as well?
And, as Beck-Friis and Unger concluded: ‘PocketLaw can be an enabler for successful businesses.’ I.e. this is not just about the law, it’s about helping companies to grow by allowing them to easily navigate legal pitfalls that could otherwise slow them down or create risks.
The two founders have certainly made an impact in Sweden. They have every chance of succeeding here as well. Good luck to them.