A solicitor has launched an app which he hopes will be the equivalent of taxi service Uber for legal and accountancy advice by allowing consumers to find, connect with and later review their advisers.
Simon Astill was managing partner of Leicestershire firm Harvey Ingram before it merged with Shakespeares in 2012, where he was director of risk.
“There is nothing here that has not been done before. What is unique is putting all of this together in an app,” he said.
“That is what Uber did. It took existing services and brought it all together into one app – search, review and payment”.
Mr Astill said ProAnnexUs aimed to provide “timely legal advice from people you can trust”. He said a Legal Services Board survey into unmet need among small and medium-sized businesses showed that access to advice was poor and instructing a lawyer was seen as too difficult, too time-consuming and too expensive.
“I’m a fairly passionate lawyer, but not so passionate about the way the law is being delivered. The law is not enough – it must be delivered the way the client needs and wants it.”
Mr Astill said benefits of the app were access to a peer-reviewed set of lists of professionals, instant messaging and the incorporation of a credit card payment system.
The app also includes a system of ID verification, which had turned out to be one of the biggest “pain points” for firms, and could be used for anti-money laundering purposes.
ProAnnexUs is currently free for users, but the aim is for it to be funded by the law and accountancy firms involved on a subscription basis, paying £35 per month or £330 per year.
The solicitorsaid 50 lawyers were offering their services through the app, along with a couple of accountants. However, he said that for the app to develop from the existing Beta version he needed a “critical mass” of professionals to be involved, who could cover the whole country.
The legal services covered by the app are commercial, property (residential and commercial), employment, family, personal injury, wills and probate, agency and notary.
Mr Astill said the accountancy services covered are audit, book-keeping, tax, payroll and others.
“The aim is simplicity, simplicity of interaction between lawyer and client, because that is what the client wants.”