A Finnish contract automation service that aims to be “the most user-friendly legal services platform on the planet” has launched in the UK.
Neil Edwards, Docue’s vice-president of sales for the UK, said Docue expanded from Finland to Sweden before opening an office in London last month, with two solicitors and three other staff.
Mr Edwards said further expansion to Germany and the USA was possible, though it might not involve physical offices.
Docue was also likely to expand from commercial work, employment, health and safety and intellectual property to real property, where “underserved” lawyers could benefit from its built-in e-signature tool.
Docue offers UK businesses a library of over 80 pre-built templates created by solicitors, together with an “automated clause builder, e-signature capabilities, and smart storage”.
Templates include clause-by-clause guidance. Those who want help from a lawyer can access Docue’s in-house ‘ask a lawyer’ service by buying a standard or premium subscription. The platform does not provide regulated legal services.
The company was founded in Helsinki in 2015 by Marko Teppo, a former police officer who became a lawyer and then worked for a large accounting firm.
Mr Teppo said he wanted Docue to be “the most user-friendly legal services platform on the planet”.
While working with around 100 companies at the accountancy firm, Mr Teppo said he noticed that their legal needs were similar, there was “a lot of repetition in the work of lawyers” and the result was almost always a written document.
“This is how the idea of Docue was born. As an idea, it is as simple as it is revolutionary: lawyers produce legal content and encode it with legal reasoning.
“This allows Docue users to create contracts and legal documents as good as a lawyer would make, but without the training or cost of a lawyer. The electronic signature seals the contract and archiving is automatic.”
Ed Boal, director and head of corporate at Stephenson Law, said the firm had built the UK template library in partnership with Docue.
Mr Boal said Stephensons was approached by the Finnish company to create the templates in March this year, which the law firm did, in return for a fixed fee.
“With some start-ups, it can be difficult for law firms to meet their needs in a cost-effective way. It’s great that there is now a platform where they can access the help they need. When they get bigger, and the time is right, they can come to us.”
Mr Boal said Stephensons had an advantage in advising Docue clients on templates because the law firm had drafted them.
“As a law firm, meeting the needs of clients is at our core. I’ve used a lot of document automation platforms, and this one is very slick and effective.
“An incredible amount of time and money has gone into producing something that is easy to use. It’s not just about creating contracts, but about e-signing and storing them.”