Barrister entrepreneur William Rees has launched an online drafting service aimed at mainly at solicitors in small firms.
Mr Rees, chief executive of eDraftly, is a barrister at Civitas Law, a civil and public law chambers in Cardiff Bay. He said most of the drafting the new service had carried out so far was on commercial cases.
The business provides “customised templates”, which aim to be more tailored to lawyers’ requirements and individual cases than traditional precedents.
“Solicitors can generate documents themselves using existing precedents, but we can operate more quickly and at lower cost,” Mr Rees said.
“The vast majority of the people who have got in touch with us have been solicitors, most of whom are sole practitioners or working in small firms.”
Mr Rees said that, as a barrister, he had seen the problems faced by law firms in drafting important documents such as pleadings.
“Law firms often have paralegals working, on an ‘ad hoc’ basis, on a wide range of cases while lawyers could do with having a tailored draft more quickly.”
Mr Rees said that, before becoming a barrister, he worked in equity research for a bank in the City of London and later for PwC. “I’ve seen how big organisations work in moving documents around quickly and maintaining strong templates,” Mr Rees said.
“Junior people fill in the first drafts and put in the basic information. If done correctly it can save senior people a lot of time and allow them to concentrate on the critical elements in terms of the outcome.”
Mr Rees said there was a “strong response” to a test version of the website, which launched in April, and 40 templates were drafted. He said templates were currently drafted either by him, his solicitor sister or a law graduate who had passed the BPTC.
He said that eDraftly was a “very different service” to that offered by barristers and could not provide “final guidance and advice”, but there was no reason why barristers could not use the service to save time.
He added that in the future eDraftly could expand its offering to include services for litigants in person and other non-lawyers.